Corning Republican says discussion should be about spending, not revenue
The man who will represent Chautauqua County in Washington starting next month says he remains dedicated to supporting a solution that will help the county avert falling off a fiscal cliff at the end of this year. However, Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) says he’s also still concerned that President Barack Obama is focusing too much on finding ways to increase revenue to close a budget gap, rather than reeling in spending, especially with entitlement programs.
Reed made his comments Monday during his weekly conference call with media from throughout the Southern Tier. Once again, the Corning Republican spent much of conference discussing the Fiscal Cliff and where things currently stand. He says once again, his concern is that the debate is focused on revenue and taxation, rather than out-of-control spending.
“This is a spending problem, not a revenue problem,” Reed explained to reporters. “As I have said many times, I will consider revenue – and I believe many fellow republicans are at that point where we will consider revenue – in order to get through this fiscal cliff crisis. But the problem is that by focusing on the revenue side of the ledger, the White House has convinced the American people that just raising taxes on the top two percent will solve these problems. And that is a problem in and of itself.”
Reed added that his biggest concern is that the focus will continue to be raising revenue on the top two percent of income earners in America to help close the budget gap. He says that unless lawmakers can also broker a deal on entitlement reform, the country will continue down a path of what he says is bankruptcy and collapse.
“When we talk about revenue and the top two percent, [we are talking about] an amount equal to approximately $80 Billion,” Reed said. “That $80 Billion is equivalent to only eight days of government spending… That shows that this debate on revenue is so misplaced in regards to the magnitude of the debt and fiscal crisis – and now the entitlement crisis that I see developing on the horizon – because there is not a commitment by the White House to resolve the entitlement collapse that is coming down the pipeline.”
Reed specifically points to the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – saying that it only preserves Medicare for only 12 years. He says that means anyone who is 53 years or younger may not have Medicare to fall back on by the time they reach retirement age. Reed says that is one of the reasons why he thinks there needs to be a serious discussion about entitlement programs such as the Affordable Care Act and their inability to remain financially stable over the long-run.
Reed’s most recent call for specific spending cuts by the President falls in line with his Republican colleagues, many of whom are banging a similar drum this week. Meanwhile, the White House continues to insist that the GOP agree explicitly to raise tax rates on upper incomes.
Congress and the President have until Dec. 31 to finalize negotiations to avoid the Fiscal Cliff – the deadline when all tax cuts currently in place will expire, meaning all working Americans will start taking home less. One economist says for a typical middle class family making $70,000 a year, it would mean would a $2,000 tax increase in 2013 if the Fiscal Cliff is not avoided.