Congress returned to work Tuesday with a full schedule of unfinished business. Heading the “to-do list” for the House and Senate is hammering out a compromise that would lead toward the avoidance of the so-called “fiscal cliff.” That’s the term used to describe significant tax increases and cuts to a number of social programs and defense spending that are automatically triggered if Congress does not reach an agreement on ways to reduce the deficit and federal spending.
A day after President Obama was re-elected, GOP House Speaker John Boehner threw out a “verbal olive branch” saying he is ready to come to a compromise and end the gridlock. South Carolina Republican Congressman Jeff Duncan says he was a little disappointed that Boehner says he was willing to compromise, especially so quickly after the election. Duncan says he will not vote for any tax increase.
“I thing we stand firm for tax reform and everyone is for that. Comprehensive tax reform looks at current rates; whether we lower those rates or keep them the same I’m definitely not voting for a tax increase on anyone in the middle of a recession and I still think we’re in a recession.”
Duncan says while Boehner may be willing to compromise, he still must deal with the wishes of GOP representatives like him that want to toe the line on taxes and cut the deficit. “He’s got a lot of us to deal with and we are going to hold firm on not raising taxes. We’re going to hold firm on keeping things in perspective with tax reform.”
Duncan says he fully realizes that it is important that some tax loopholes need to be closed. “You’ve got companies like General Electric that didn’t pay any taxes and sure everyone, Republican or Democrat, realizes that’s not fair. But just to go in there and arbitrarily raise taxes so that the government can continue irresponsible spending is in fact irresponsible; irresponsible for the American taxpayer.”
Anne Eller of Greenwood affiliate WCRS contributed to this report.