Tipton: Fiscal cliff deal must include debt cuts
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., was prepared to support legislation in which taxes would increase on people earning $1 million a year, so long as the measure included provisions to pay down the national debt.
The debate over the budget and so-called fiscal cliff — a package of tax increases and spending cuts that will begin going into effect on Jan. 1 — missed an important issue, Tipton said Friday in a telephone interview.
“We’re not having a serious discussion about paying down the debt, and we need to start doing that now,” Tipton said. “Debt is consuming the economic vitality of this country.”
Tipton supported a measure that included debt-reduction as part of House Speaker John Boehner’s Plan B proposal containing a tax increase on high earners, but the measure failed, Tipton said.
When that happened, Boehner called a meeting of the Republican caucus, which he opened with the Serenity Prayer “with some adjustments because he wasn’t serene,” Tipton said.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference,” is the Serenity Prayer.
The House in August passed a measure extending the current tax code and Tipton said that with the failure of Plan B, it’s now up to President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats to come up with a response, noting that the Senate hasn’t passed a budget measure in three years.
President Obama is seeking to increase income, capital-gains, inheritance and other taxes on people earning $250,000 a year or more.
Even Boehner’s bid to increase taxes only on income of $1 million a year or more gave him heartburn, Tipton said, noting that a Pueblo construction business needing to make a significant capital investment in 20 new backhoes is paralyzed because it’s unclear how the business will be taxed in 2013, even at the $1 million income level.
Tipton flew home to Cortez on Friday, but had planned to remain in Washington, D.C., until Christmas in anticipation of completing a budget deal.
As it is, members of the House are on 48-hour notice to return should a deal take shape.
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Lakewood, laid the blame on tea party members of the House and called for Republican leaders to “return to Plan A and get back to the negotiating table with the president.”
Tipton said he remains hopeful that the Senate will take up some House legislation, including a measure patterned after Katie’s Law in Colorado that would aid states in collecting DNA from certain criminals to aid in solving sexual-assault crimes.