The “Fiscal Cliff” Deal – Who Voted How In The La. Delegation
There are nine members of the current Louisiana Delegation - 7 Republicans and 2 Democrats - and they were as divided on the "Fiscal Cliff" Deal as they could possibly be.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Quitman Rep. Rodney Alexander (R) and New Orleans Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) gave "Yes" votes while Lafayette Rep. Charles Boustany (R), New Iberia Rep. Jeff Landry (R), Baton Rouge Rep. Bill Cassidy (R), Minden Rep. John Fleming (R) and New Orleans Rep. Steve Scalise (R) all gave "No" votes to the deal.
That's 4 "Yes" votes to 5 "No" votes.
On the "Yes" side, Sen. Landrieu says the deal extends tax cuts for more than 98 percent of Louisiana residents. Before she voted, Landrieu told CNN this was the best possible deal at the late hour:
The other side wanted to put all of the burden on the middle class through terrible cuts to programs that support middle class families, whether it's deductions for home ownership or deductions for putting your children through college.
But on the "No" side, Rep. Boustany counters with information he cited from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, which says more than 75% of American households will see a tax increase from last year. He says he voted against this bill because of "its fundamental failure to address one of the biggest problems facing our nation today: government spending." Boustany says the combination of adding $4 trillion in new deficit spending as a result of this bill, coupled with the $16 trillion national debt, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 "provides a recipe for disaster."
Rep. Landry, who opposed and lost to Boustany in the runoff election for the 3rd Congressional District seat, agreed with Boustany by voting "No" and says the bill's "tax increases, spending increases, and deficit increases only transported Americans to a higher cliff from which to fall."
Congressman Alexander, meanwhile, was the lone Louisiana Republican in the House to support the deal. He says it was because of permanent tax breaks for the middle class:
Those extensions of the so-called Bush tax cuts have been a political game that's been played for ten years now and to make those permanent removes that game from the bargaining table.
Alexander also favors the deal because it extends the current Farm Bill another 9 months. He says he'll vote for budget deficit reductions when that bill comes along. He cited the defense budget and believes there are some areas "that need to be looked at. There are some that say that might weaken defense; I don't necessarily agree with that."
But Fellow GOP Congressman Cassidy was a "no" vote--disappointed because there were no spending cuts, and nothing to strengthen Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. He says cuts are needed to fund these programs:
There should be about $3 in cuts for every $1 in revenue increase. And so, we had $600 billion in revenue increase, and we had no cuts.
Congressman Fleming says the bill will give the President more money to spend, by raising taxes on wealthy individuals:
The President wants it all his way. He wants no cuts, he wants increased spending. But he does want to raise taxes.
The bill increases taxes for families with incomes over $450,000.
Landrieu admits the legislation the Senate passed does not reduce the deficit as much as she would like, but the senator told CNN she remains committed to finding a balanced approach to deficit reduction:
By balanced, we've gotta put both new revenues on the table to close the budget gap and some additional spending cuts.