Congressman Jim Gerlach, who represents the Malvern area, was one of 85 House Republicans to vote in favor of legislation to avert the fiscal cliff on New Year's Day. House Speaker John Boehner also voted in favor of the bill, but 151 Republicans voted against it.
Gerlach released a statement defending his vote Wednesday:
Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) issued the following statement after the House approved so-called fiscal cliff legislation that rolls back massive tax hikes and delays arbitrary cuts in military and other federal spending:
"The choice came down to whether I would allow the President’s $4.6 trillion tax hike on every taxpayer to stand or act to repeal the tax increases for nearly all the families, small business owners and seniors in my district. An across-the-board tax hike would have meant fewer jobs and made our economy's climb out of this recession even steeper. The lower tax rates will now be permanent for approximately 99 percent of taxpayers and will restore some certainty, which countless business owners have told me is essential for spurring investment and stimulating hiring. Another key component of this legislation prevents a 26.5 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements for doctors. Such a drastic reduction in reimbursement rates would have made it harder for seniors to find a doctor and jeopardized their continued access to high-quality treatment.
Make no mistake. I remain extremely concerned that the President and the Democrat leadership in the Senate continue ignoring the significant threat that our $16.4 trillion debt poses to our country's long-term financial health. I would have preferred not raising taxes on anyone or, at the very least, balancing any revenue increases with honest spending reductions. However, Senate Democrat leadership and the President refused to budge. And this is not the first time the President has balked at tackling spending. He brushed aside recommendations from his own debt commission two years ago, walked away from a House-Senate plan last summer to balance revenue increases with spending reductions and allowed the so-called fiscal cliff deadline to pass without offering serious solutions on spending. The President's pace of spending and debt levels that have grown larger than the total output of our entire economy keep driving our country to the edge of one fiscal cliff after another. And pretty soon the brakes aren't going to work and we'll find ourselves not staring at a fiscal cliff, but reeling in a fiscal free fall. Clearly, we still have plenty of work in the months ahead to provide the fiscal security and spending discipline Americans deserve.”
Congressman Pat Meehan, who represents Willistown Township until redistricting takes effect later this week, also voted in favor of the deal. In a statement on his website, he called the legislation an imperfect agreement:
I would have preferred it to contain action to get our arms around our outrageous debt. But failure to pass it would have had disastrous consequences for middle-class families in Pennsylvania and fueled even more Washington spending.