The Fiscal Cliff Must be Avoided

On the dawn of New Year’s Day 2013, America will either wake up clear-headed and positive with better days on the horizon or start the New Year with a nauseating hangover called the fiscal cliff. Our nation, is indeed, facing a financial crisis of soaring magnitude.

Right now, Congress is gridlocked in addressing the national debt. Businesses face great uncertainty. Continued bickering and gridlock in Congress could ruin our fragile economic recovery and plunge our economy into a deepening and long-lasting recession. This would be devastating and we cannot let it happen.

There is a tremendous hunger in America for Democrats and Republicans to work together and agree on a balanced approach of cutting spending and raising revenue as the surest way to prevent our nation from going over this dangerous and destructive fiscal cliff.

So here we are: Without our action, the Bush tax cuts for all incomes will expire on December 31. Automatic cuts will immediately slash $55 billion from defense and $55 billion from domestic programs, across the board, without any consideration of the terrible consequences for the American people. We must stop this irresponsible sequestration of automatic cuts.

Already, my beloved State of Georgia is leading the nation in bank failures and we are near the top in home foreclosures; our job losses are worse than the national average; education budgets are already cut to the bone. In my District, in Cobb County, many Lockheed-Martin employees could lose their jobs. And proposed cuts to our hospitals would be devastating. Our college education and research programs face steep cuts, which caused the Presidents of UGA and Georgia Tech to join in solidarity with a well-written column recently in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

However, through the November elections, the American people spoke loudly that we must have both spending cuts and increased revenue. As proposed by Democrats in Congress and President Obama, our balanced budget plan was the clear winner in this election. The distinction between President Obama and Governor Romney was very clear and the majority of the American people agree with Democrats: that it is not asking too much for some of our wealthiest citizens to help just a little more; that we keep the Bush tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses; and that we protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

My Republican colleagues do not have to give up their core beliefs to find agreement with Democrats. President Bill Clinton found budget-balancing success by working with a Republican-led Congress and tremendous economic growth followed.

Going forward, we must grow the middle class by investing in education, science, technology, infrastructure, and healthcare and increasing manufacturing in our own country.

Our nation is great because we have a history of rising to great challenges, working through our differences, and seizing victory for the American people. And we will rise to this challenge. We will avoid this fiscal cliff. And, once again, we will seize victory and move America forward.