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Gwinnett congressmen explain fiscal cliff votes

Johnny Isakson

Johnny Isakson

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Hank Johnson

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Paul Broun

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Rob Woodall

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Saxby Chambliss

LAWRENCEVILLE -- With action in Washington late New Year's Day, the fiscal cliff crisis was averted. Or was it?

The holiday vote will mean most Americans will only feel a little pain when they get their paycheck this year, but the solution set for the so-called fiscal cliff has as much mixed reaction here as it did in Washington.

Gwinnett's delegation in Washington was divided, with Republican U.S. Reps. Rob Woodall and Paul Broun joining the rest of the state's House GOP members in voting no. Democrat U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, as well as Republican Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss voted in favor of the proposal, which makes permanent Bush-era tax cuts, except for those who make $450,000 or more.

"I voted to pass the American Taxpayer Relief Act because avoiding the fiscal cliff removes a massive barrier to continued growth of the American economy. The bill protects the middle class providing permanent tax relief, while restoring equity in the tax code by requiring that the wealthy pay their fair share," said Johnson, whose district includes portions of southern Gwinnett.

The tax cuts, Woodall said, were the only positive outcome from a last-minute deal to stave off Jan. 1 deadlines. He wanted more spending cuts to be paired with the plan.

"No matter what happened last night, it was going to be a failure," Woodall said Wednesday, adding that Congress should have been working for months to tackle the issues. "The president has succeeded in making our tax code a welfare redistribution program. ... That is not what the tax code is supposed to be used for."

Woodall said people in his 7th district -- which shifts in 2013 to encompass much of central Gwinnett and Forsyth -- are not all about "no" but more for looking for solutions, he said, which gave him the opportunity to try to be a part of a compromise. But he said many Republicans were afraid the Senate would not act if the House made amendments to its bill.

Still, he was encouraged by the process.

"Everything that you saw throughout the process, it was rarely indicative of partisan wrangling," he said, adding that many in the party had differing opinions, mostly because their constituents back home had different concerns.

To Atlanta Tea Party Patriots' Julianne Thompson, of Suwanee, that split vote in the GOP showed her that too many politicians were willing to abandon party principles.

"This vote separated the wheat from the shaft. It is time for Republican leadership that will stand-up for our principles," she said, thanking the GOP House delegation while expressing disappointment for the votes of Isakson and Chambliss.

This is what Isakson had to say about the vote: "This 11th-hour negotiation is no way to run a country, but I voted for this agreement because it protects 99 percent of Americans from a tax increase, permanently protects tens of thousands of farmers and family businesses from having to pay the estate tax upon the death of a loved one, and permanently fixes the alternative minimum tax to protect some 30 million households a year from having to pay it. I am also pleased that this agreement reinstates the pay freeze for members of Congress. Now, it is time for the president to get serious about spending cuts and entitlement reforms, and I look forward to enacting significant measures in the coming weeks that will reduce our debt."

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, whose district lines move today to encompass eastern Gwinnett and Barrow counties, said the bill made a mockery out of the country's spending debate.

"My fear is that in a very short period of time we'll be right back here having this same debate; who to raise taxes on and by how much, without a word about cutting spending," he said. "It'll only be so long until we're taxing the entire country at maximum rates but still spending so much that we cannot meet our obligations. That's when we'll reach the real fiscal cliff, and as a consequence the United States will no longer be the global powerhouse and economic leader that it once was. We cannot let it come to this, but it will unless this Congress, this Administration, and this President get serious about cutting spending."

Woodall said he was also concerned that government spending will not be addressed until it is too late.

"At some point, it can't be about the next election," he said. "It hs to be about the right thing."

But Jason Pfeifle, who, as part of Georgia Fair Share, organized business owners and residents to present a petition to Woodall last month encouraging him to approve a compromise bill, said he was disappointed in the congressman, saying his vote was "for a tax hike."

"Georgia Fair Share and a growing coalition here in Gwinnett County will continue to hold Rep. Woodall accountable to the middle class voters who elected him," he said. "It's time for Rep. Woodall to put partisanship aside and help us build an America where everybody gets a fair shot and everybody pays their fair share."

Comments

GwinnettResident2001 1 year, 10 months ago

Why is the GDP constantly quoting Jason Pfeifle? The guy doesn't even live in D7 and is the head of a left wing and barely known group. At least give some background on the people you're quoting. At least challenge the guy on what the definition of "fair share" is - and not some leftwing gobblygook - real, hard numbers on what incomes should pay as a percentage of the federal income tax. Let's hear what "fair share" thinks is fair.

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NewsReader 1 year, 10 months ago

Georgia Fair Share is a part of idealist.org. Let me see if I can help you out here GwinnettResident2001. The essential liberal definition of "fair share" is "what's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too"!

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Cleanupguy 1 year, 10 months ago

Hopefully you realize where that link actually takes you to - another wrong turn, similar to your last election outcome guarantee. Anyway, you might want to check with the recommendations of the uber right Heritage Foundation and such – most actually agree (tacitly at least) that, as proposed and practiced by the great Ron Reagan, that quite simply having loopholes and cash havens only for some just shouldn’t happen. You might want to calm the knee jerking down and check out Fairtax.org or Fairsharetaxes.org (I LOVE their idea of actually PAYING for war debt up front) – the black helicopters are not coming, this is just common sense, and well, fairness. I personally think that the plug should be pulled on your Socialist Security and Medicommiecare, but it ain’t gonna happen.

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Patriot46 1 year, 10 months ago

Just give me back all of the money that my employers and I put into Social Security and Medicare over the last 40 years, then pull the plug!

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DavidBrown 1 year, 10 months ago

Let me remind you that we live in America. In this great country of ours, the opinions of "left wing" folks has the same value as "right wing" folks. Let me also remind you that on November 6, the majority of American voters and the majority of voters in my Snellville precinct showed their disagreement with the "right wing": philosophy.

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notblind 1 year, 10 months ago

Somebody needs to remind David Brown that the actual margin of victory was quite small at the national level and that Georgia went for Romney.

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DavidBrown 1 year, 10 months ago

President Obama's national margin of victory was quite comfortable, in my opinion. He won the Electoral College by 126 votes. He won the popular vote by 4,967,508 votes. He won 26 states, plus the District of Columbia.

You are correct that Governor Romney took Georgia. I am still proud that my Snellville precinct was one of the ten Snellville precincts that went for President Obama.

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FordGalaxy 1 year, 10 months ago

Just out of curiosity, David, but why are you proud of Obama? I'm genuinely curious. I voted for George Bush in 2000, and i've spent the last three presidential elections voting Libertarian, because quite frankly neither big party even rmeotely represents my ideals. Both the GOP and the Democrats are too spend-happy, and as a result we're about $11-trillion further in debt than we were when Bush took office. Bush saw $4.7 trillion of that debt added, Obama has presided over $6 trillion in debt in half the time. How can you be proud of that? Like Bush, Obama and the Democrats don't seem to really care about the Constitution. Obama has made several comments that could be construed as socialist and downright anti-business. His entire campaign was one of wealthy-envy and "tax the rich" policies, even though it is fairly evident that we do not have a revenue problem.

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notblind 1 year, 10 months ago

Uncle BO got 51%. That's it. The way you used the phrase "...the majority of American voters...." is typical liberal overstatement.

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GwinnettResident2001 1 year, 10 months ago

David, way to miss the point. If there were so many voters in the Snellville precinct, then surely one of them could have been quoted instead of someone who doesn't live in the district.

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NewsReader 1 year, 10 months ago

And let me remind you that if 4,967,508 people believe in a dumb idea, it is still a dumb idea. Thanks for the reminder of who won the election. It serves as a consistent persistent reminder that the dumb masses of our society are in the majority. And when we run out of money supporting your sorry worthless irresponsible hypocritical entitlement driven A$$E$, you can fall back on your Messiah to tell you what to do.

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dentaldawg83 1 year, 10 months ago

cowards and liars, everyone of them..this will not be forgotten next election cycle.

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Cleanupguy 1 year, 10 months ago

Sigh - yes, it probably will. Again, only 60% of eligible voters are even registered, pitifully few actually show up to vote, and far too many of the latter are frighteningly uninformed. Cases in point - the re-elections of Bannister and Kenerly, and the election for ANYTHING of Lasseter - the information was clearly out there, but almost nobody looked for it. Hopefully you have contacted each and every one of your county, state and local elected officials...........

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jack 1 year, 10 months ago

"This vote separated the wheat from the shaft."

While the actual word should be "chaff", I suspect "shaft" is more apropos. The politicians took the wheat and the American people got the shaft.

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NewsReader 1 year, 10 months ago

LOL, I thought I was the only one that caught that...it is indeed appropriate to the context though.

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ammom1 1 year, 10 months ago

As far as I'm concerned we would have been better if the bill had not passed and a different one written without all the ridiculous pork included. Same for that bill to help out the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Our government loves to waste our money. That's what they do best.

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toby 1 year, 10 months ago

If Hank Johnson is for it, we should all be for it. I won't go to Guam because it will flip over if too many people stand on 1 side. He better get a nobel prize of some kind.

Solution: 1) Term limits for all politicians 2) When their term is up, they leave with nothing. No pension, no benefits. 3) Eliminate business tax. Bring the corporate money back to the US. Build factories and put people to work. 4) Eliminate stupid spending 5) Reduce entiltlements. Some people need them. A lot of them don't. If you want a cell phone, go earn it. The Fed can provide day to day jobs for people. If you work that day, you get paid. No more free ride. 6) Reduce federal employees benefits and wages. Federal workers use to be a welfare type job not a retire in 20 with a pension job.

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jack 1 year, 10 months ago

toby- While politicians will never impose term limits, YOU can!

DRIP.

Don't Reelect Incumbent Politicians!
(regardless of party)

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mike409 1 year, 10 months ago

All we have heard out of Mr. President's mouth was that the taxes would only go up on those making $200,000 +; then it went to $400,000. Will someone explain to me why my little retirement check (not even close to $200,000) had a tax deduction increase? I'm sick and tired of all the lies and mismanagement of money.

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Why_not 1 year, 10 months ago

I would think that it is your responsibility to find the answer to that. There is no way that the recent vote could have increased your tax withholding.

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Why_not 1 year, 10 months ago

I just received my monthly pension check and mine didn't change at all.

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Jan 1 year, 10 months ago

If your check changed, it was processed before the new bill was passed. This makes it fall into the category of all tax brackets reverting to pre-Bush levels. You should see it drop back next month.

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notblind 1 year, 10 months ago

Hank Johnson said

""I voted to pass the American Taxpayer Relief Act because avoiding the fiscal cliff removes a massive barrier to continued growth of the American economy. "...............................................................................................................................

The "massive barrier to continued growth of the American economy" is GOVERNMENT . Fed, state and local are all doing everything they can to screw the businesses and individual taxpayers of America. Yesterday I drove by Buford's city hall complex. A few miles down the road I drove by Sugar Hill's city hall complex. These things will be a yoke around the neck of the taxpayers from now own. This kind of foolish spending is why they are constantly having to come up with new schemes to dip into your pocket book............................................................................................................These projects are nothing more than monuments to the ego's of bureaucrats and politicians.

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MistyFyed 1 year, 10 months ago

Johnny Isakson said, "Now, it is time for the president to get serious about spending cuts and entitlement reforms, and I look forward to enacting significant measures in the coming weeks that will reduce our debt."

Sorry Johnny...That's what this vote was for. The "fiscal cliff" was put in place to force cuts in spending if congress failed to act. You simply lost your backbone and voted for tax increases.

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SuxBeanU 1 year, 10 months ago

Misty, none of the above mentioned ever had a backbone.

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rco1847 1 year, 10 months ago

That looks like a liars conference held here in Gwinnett Country

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kevin 1 year, 10 months ago

We are fast approaching a one-party system with the same Demos and GOP being re-elected. The problem we have is most incumbents do not have any challengers so we need forced term limits on them. Anyway, once a Congress person gets re-elected one time, that fifth year qualifies them for a life-time of pensions. All Congressional raises should be stopped until the deficit is reduced to zero. I guarantee you they will fix the situation quickly!!!

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