Utah’s congressional delegation voted three to one against legislation that passed Tuesday designed to prevent the country from falling off the fiscal cliff, but those against and the one supporting the plan may surprise Utah voters.
Senator Mike Lee-R, Representative Rob Bishop-R, Representative Jason Chaffetz-R, and Representative Jim Matheson-D all voted against the bill. The only supporter was Senator Orrin Hatch-R. Matheson was one of 16 democrats to oppose the bill.
Senator Hatch said he was reluctant to support the bill, but did so because it sets a lower tax rate for most Americans. Early Tuesday, Hatch said, “This isn’t legislation I would have written and it is far from perfect.” He maintains he did so because “it sets in stone lower tax rates for roughly 99 percent of American taxpayers.” Mike Lee complained that senators were given the 157-page bill six minutes before the vote, saying, “Everything about this bill was a failure: What Congress did, how Congress did it, and what Congress failed to do.” He later tweeted he didn’t support the law because it “will leave 99 percent of a dysfunctional system intact.”
Bishop voted against the legislation because it did not address spending cuts. By requiring cuts to be made within two months, Bishop maintains democrats and the White House “just kicked it down the road” and said, “I have no confidence that the Administration or the Senate are serious about coming back and really solving this military funding problem.” Bishop is concerned about cuts in military spending that could affect one of his district’s largest employers - Hill Air Force Base.
Chaffetz and Matheson both voiced concerns about spending cuts. Following the Tuesday vote, Representative Matheson tweeted, “Voted no on #fiscalcliff. I support tax cut provisions but sadly this bill has no mechanism to deal w/debt problems. More work needed - soon.” Chaffetz tweeted, “Without substantial, real first year cuts in spending I can’t vote for the bill passed by the Senate.”
The bill will raise tax rates on individuals who make more than $400,000 per year and families that make more than $450,000 annually. It also extends unemployment benefits for a year.
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Source: Congressman Rob Bishop’s Office, KSL News, Associated Press, Twitter, Salt Lake Tribune