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Rep. Butterfield: We'll fall off fiscal cliff
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Rep. Butterfield: We'll fall off fiscal cliff
Wilson County's congressman weighs in amid calls for compromise




Wilson County’s congressman thinks the United States will tumble over the fiscal cliff on Jan. 1, but if he has his way, the middle-class tax hikes will be short-lived.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield said eleventh-hour bickering has tempered his optimism for a deal between Democrats and Republicans to avoid the combination of tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts.

"I’m not optimistic that there will be a grand bargain that conservatives and progressives can agree on, I really don’t,” Butterfield said. "I suspect the fiscal cliff will happen. I was optimistic until about two weeks ago, and then my optimism began to fade.”

Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat representing North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, was driving back to Washington on Friday afternoon in preparation for last-minute fiscal cliff votes on Capitol Hill. Congressional leaders met with President Barack Obama at the White House Friday to hammer out a deal.

In summer 2011, Congress passed — and Obama signed — a law that would require about $917 billion in budget cuts over the next decade in exchange for increasing the U.S.’ debt ceiling. The law triggers sequestration, or automatic cuts of about 8 percent to every federal agency, if Congress fails to pass a plan with specified cuts.

The George W. Bush tax cuts already were set to expire on Dec. 31. Democrats insist that any fiscal cliff bargain must include phasing out the cuts for families earning more than $250,000 per year. Republicans are reluctant to increase tax rates and prefer a combination of deep spending cuts and tax reform that would raise some revenue by closing loopholes and eliminating deductions.

"People can expect to have less disposable income, and it’s all because Republicans do not want to raise taxes on those couples making more than $250,000 a year,” Butterfield said. "It’s a shame.”

If lawmakers can’t make a deal, the Bush tax rates would expire for all earners. Butterfield said he wants to make the lower rates permanent for everyone who earns less than a quarter-million dollars.

"We want to take rich people back to the rates they were paying when President (Bill) Clinton was in office,” he said. "For 98 percent of the taxpayers, we want to lock you into low rates and make it permanent.”

Republicans counter that raising tax rates on the wealthy will discourage job creation and investment.

Butterfield predicts the Bush tax cuts will automatically expire on Jan. 1 as a result of sequestration, but Senate Democrats will try to pass a bill restoring the cuts for all but the wealthiest 2 percent of taxpayers.

"If the Republicans vote against that, they are voting against a tax decrease,” he said. "I think Republicans in the Senate would have to accept and vote for a tax decrease.”

 

CALLS FOR COMPROMISE

Butterfield may be pessimistic about the fiscal cliff, but he’s still working feverishly to avert it, he said. He favors a compromise under which Democrats would agree to bigger spending cuts and Republicans would be willing to raise taxes on the wealthy.

"Reasonable people must come together to reach a compromise,” he said. "Republicans are going to have to compromise and raise the rates on wealthy taxpayers. Democrats are going to have to compromise and realize we’ve got to have more cuts.”

Each of North Carolina’s senators agree that compromise is needed, but they offer divergent perspectives on how such a deal should look.

Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican, favors tax reform over tax increases as a means to generate revenue.

"If we are serious about addressing our nation’s financial problems and avoiding the fiscal cliff, one of the first and most important things we must address is our broken and burdensome tax code,” Burr said in a message on his website. "We need to simplify the tax code, eliminate tax loopholes and lower rates so that small businesses can grow and families get a break. Raising taxes — on anyone — will not address the deep, fundamental problems in our tax system.”

Burr said Republicans are willing to accept more tax revenues, but Democrats are dragging their feet when it comes to cutting spending.

"Democrats have been unwilling to put a serious deficit reduction offer on the table so far, and the president’s most recent proposal includes another round of stimulus spending that will cost taxpayers $50 billion in the next year alone.”

Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, said she supports a bipartisan solution to avoid the fiscal cliff.

"If we don’t act, the average middle-class family will see their taxes increase by $2,200,” Hagan said in a prepared statement. "That’s unacceptable. On top of that, the consequences of sequestration are amplified in our state given our large military footprint and the economic importance of the defense industry to our local economies.”

 

LOCAL LAWMAKERS WEIGH IN

Though the N.C. General Assembly can’t fix the impasse in Washington, state lawmakers representing Wilson County have no shortage of ideas.

State Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat, suggested passing a temporary measure to keep current tax and spending levels in place while lawmakers continue to seek a permanent solution.

"They just need to come up with a compromise and work it out,” she said. "Put the people first instead of egos and parties. If they absolutely cannot, they probably should pass legislation to keep things moving forward.”

Farmer-Butterfield said Congress should work to balance the budget and avoid adding to a $16.3-trillion national debt. She also supports extending the Bush tax cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans.

"I really have not taken a position on it other than the fact that I think the middle class is paying enough and it’s sufficient,” she said. "If I was in that 1 percent, I would not mind paying my fair share.”

Many Wilson County residents would be in dire straits if tax increases took an extra $50 or more out of each paycheck, Farmer-Butterfield said.

"Some people are telling me they can’t make ends meet as it is with the kind of bills they have,” she said. "Fifty dollars a month may not sound like a lot to some people, but if you’re struggling to make ends meet, it is.”

State Rep. Joe Tolson, a Pinetops Democrat who represents parts of Wilson and Edgecombe counties until new legislative districts take effect Jan. 1, agreed that tax hikes would hobble low- and middle-income families.

"It would probably be devastating to the middle-income people,” he said. "The wealthy people will certainly still feel it, but there would be more pocket pain for the middle class.”

Tolson said both Republicans and Democrats have valid points, but they need to work together and be willing to compromise for the nation’s good.

"We’ve got to do something about the deficit,” he said. "We can’t just keep borrowing money, so we’ve got to get some cuts to bring the spending under control.”

Tolson challenged congressional leaders to bring open minds to the negotiating table.

"I just don’t understand how people can represent the citizens of this country and not work together,” he said. "That’s what’s got to happen in order to keep this country moving forward. Let’s get this country on the right track and put politics aside for a change.”

 

corey@wilsontimes.com | 265-7821
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Wow said...

People have such a hard time facing the reality of what we did in Iraq. Face it: Iraq did not attack us. Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. It made about as much sense to attack Iraq as to attack Sweden. It had nothing to do with the "war on terror." It was all about somebody in the White House wanting to prove what a big man he was. And for that, we are still paying.

Monday, January 07, 2013 at 7:21 PM
@peter said...

If every President paid back money that people thought they wasted, there would be a line a mile long. Obama has definitely done his share of spending and little to show for it. Again I say, I was in Iraq...it was not wasted and you should be thanking us for thwarting many potential problems. You just don't understand because you were not there obviously. I'm more realistic and you are just ranting about things you know little about except what the media feeds you.

Friday, January 04, 2013 at 8:36 PM
to@peter paul andmary said...

Who are they? Georgy and Condi? If so, they should pay back the treasury for all the money they wasted!

Friday, January 04, 2013 at 6:44 PM
@peter paul and mary said...

They already admitted they didn't have weapons of mass destruction WAY back. That's old news. A jet is not a weapon of mass destruction but it sure killed a lot of people on 9/11 didn't it? I love people who were not there who think they know so much.

Friday, January 04, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Peter, Paul and Mary said...

Old George W. and Condi still insist there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and by golly, if their crowd ever gets back in power, we'll invade a second time and see if we can find them. All hope is not lost.

Friday, January 04, 2013 at 10:23 AM
@damella said...

sure it did. Maybe not as directly as we first thought, but you ever served there? I did. You think Iraq is full of peace and love for the US? You are the one with your head in the sand. You actually think they have not had or will not have a hand in attacks against America? You don't think our being in Iraq thwarted other attempts like a 9/11? Seriously??

Friday, January 04, 2013 at 8:34 AM Damella said...

Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

Friday, January 04, 2013 at 10:06 PM @damella said...

Have we had another 9/11 since that time? You should be thanking the veterans who severed in wars to give you the freedom to make your comments. I remember almost all US Citizens backing the troops after 9/11 and going after the bad guys. I think its a travesty to now use the blame game knowing we all supported the effort as Americans. I gladly pay my fair share to have my family live in America without fear.

Thursday, January 03, 2013 at 8:36 AM Damella said...

Does no one really remember how our budget got so out of whack? The Iraq war! We spent billions on a war that didn't need to happen! Actually, we didn't spend it, we put the whole thing on credit! So... shock! The bills have to be paid! All y'all "support the troops" people who thought you did your part by putting a yellow ribbon magnet on your car... time to step up and pay for this war you "supported."


Wednesday, January 02, 2013 at 5:18 PM To Dear John said...

I never stated compromise would not occur, I merely pointed out that Republicans in the House were making it more difficult, and I gave my opinion as to why. And, no, its not over. There are more budget negotiations ahead over the next two months. Lets hope and pray members of both parties do their duty and come to a reasonable compromise. I take exception with your understanding of history. Your characterization of the American Revolution as having "originated in violence" and being "characterized by it for much of our history" ignores the fact that while our brave ancestors were indeed fighting the British, representatives of each colony were convened in Philadelphia creating (mostly through compromise) the framework for our new republic. The American Revolution was not just about violence, but also about creating a representative democracy the likes of which no one in the world had yet witnessed. One that would serve as a shining example for the rest of the world. I fear that today's gridlock in Washington is sending quite a different message to the world.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013 at 4:28 PM Dear John said...

It is over; get over it. You actually thought compromise would not happen and you were wrong. Webster: "To compromise is to make a deal between different parties where EACH party gives up part of their demand." Think you need to get down off the soap box because your analogies are not only far fetched but offensive. The country itself wasn’t founded on compromise, but on the barrels of many, many guns wielded by the colonials. It originated in violence and has been characterized by it for much of our history. We ALL have to work together as Americans no matter who controls what else its compromise only for compromise sake. Sure our Congress represents all of "US" but we have parties for a reason and surely you know what Democrat ideals are vs a Republican so there should be no surprises. Else we wouldn't be talking about who "controls", right? And if they hold up items because of their views, so be it. That's not wrong. I fully understand representative democracy and the 17th amendment.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013 at 3:28 PM John Lennon said...

Thanks to Hey@John for understanding what I meant in my earlier post. To @John - First of all, my comments were made prior to the vote late Tuesday night. And you are right about one thing, compromise does take both Republicans and Democrats. Our great nation was founded on compromise, and it's historical use is one of the biggest reasons we have survived as a nation for the past 236 years. Our very Constitution is a product of compromise. For the last decade, however, it has been YOUR party, urged on by right wing commentators on Fox and threatened by Tea Party zealots, which has practiced the kind of Congressional obstructionism the has rendered the U.S. government literally impotent when faced with economic calamities. Yes, all members of Congress do "represent" us, but last I checked, not a single one of them received 100% of the votes in their respective elections. Most all won by less than a 10% margin. They would therefore be wise to remember they represent ALL OF US, not just those who agree with their particular ideology. And you, sir, might do well to remember that Democrats control the White House as well as the Senate. That equates to 2 of the 3 entities involved in budget negotiations. The WH and Senate have been in agreement, its been your Republican controlled House that has drug out this process.From 1932-33, Nazis won enough seats in the Reichstag to bring government in Germany to a halt, this while the Great Depression gripped that nation. Their plan was simple - cause the government to come to a standstill so they, the Nazis, could seize power. Guess what - it worked. Now, before you get your panties in a wad, I'm not comparing Republicans to Nazis. But I am citing an historical example of obstructionism designed to depose a seated government in order to take over. Some Republicans stated in 2008 their main purpose was to see that Obama failed. I suppose that meant (and still means) even if the country goes down the drain with him.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013 at 1:54 PM @John said...

Why you spouting at Republicans? Compromise includes Democrats, right? It could have gone a lot faster if Democrats would have compromised first and even our current President knew about the Budget Control Act how many years ago and we are just now addressing it?? Both parties have now compromised it appears so what's your point? If my representatives didn't stand up for the people who voted them in office, it would be a shame! Not every Republican cares about the Tea Party...we were here long before a "tea party" ever existed.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013 at 8:53 AM @John said...

Because they "represent" us. That's why they are there. Abolition of Slavery is hardly in comparison to a Budget Control Act.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013 at 8:33 AM Hey @ John said...

Well said!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013 at 11:20 PM John Lennon said...

Just came from watching the movie "Lincoln." It's about the struggle and close vote to pass the 13th amendment in the House in early 1865. Lincoln needed 2/3 of the House to vote yea for it to pass. It took a bi-partisan vote. Many Democrats and Repubicans risked their political futures to vote for the amendment, knowing it could hurt them back home. My point is this, those representatives had courage and did what was best for the country. Why can't present day Republicans in the House take a cue from they and vote to compromise on a budget deal. They are so afraid for the Tea Party and the far right wing of their own party they have become paralyzed. They need the courage to do what is best for the country at this time. COMPROMISE!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013 at 9:49 PM Ms. Pamaba said...

My Jesus is a good Jesus. I don't know why yours is so mean.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013 at 9:28 PM Hey @ John said...

Don't forget Lindsay Graham!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013 at 11:37 AM To Ms. Pamba.... said...

No one said they wanted to preach from the Capitol. No one said that they wanted to government to endorse a particular religion. Although the tenant of Christianity seem to coincide with many laws such as not stealing, killing, usury, etc. Hmmm....nothing wrong with the morality being instilled in our kids. Anything wrong with teaching children to treat neighbors how they'd like to be treated or to help out those that cannot help themselves?...and if you knew anything you'd know that this country was founded on Christian values and tenants and was a Christian land that did not favor any particular Christian religion and said that anyone is free to practice whatever religion they chose and could not be persucuted for it....it never said that there had to be an total absence of religion in government or schools. If a parent has a problem with the pledge allegiance then move on....Ms. Pamba you genius, do you think that those who made the laws just came up with them from out of the blue or isn't it amazing that most of our laws are derived from things that are prohibited in the Christian teachings? Answer that. It's time for people to stand up and voice our displeasure with those lacking faith.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013 at 11:13 PM John Lennon said...

I'm sick and tired of hearing things from up tight, short sighted narrow minded hypocrites (namely Boehner and his Republican idiot Tea Party pals), all I want is some truth, just give me some truth.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013 at 9:28 PM BGP said...

Why do I feel like I have to address Big Government Democrat Pigs like "Ms. Pamaba" and others complaining about religion and Christians. Ms. Pamaba, quit stuffing your face with your government bacon for a second. Big government is your religion and Obama is your god. That's what doesn't belong. Now bow down to your God Obama and pray that he continues to bless you with more government bacon.

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 8:29 PM why said said...

raises taxes is not the answer. giving money to folks who have no desire to do so is not my way of helping. it,s not the government responsibility to feed and shelter folks who are to lazy. if they want money from the government they should have to get out and earn it ie: like picking up trash beside the road, cleaning the public parks, cut the grass for a local government. so quit blah blahing fort more handouts get out and earn it. if hey want free money and foood they sould be taxed on same. i wonder how all these folks who dont work get these large tax returns. createa flat tax and tax them all regardless of who you are or what company they maybe.

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 3:14 PM to BGP said...

I guess people like you would be at the top of my list.
You aren't happy with anything.
Hopefully, you have tried to run for office and affect change.
If is our fault for re-electing these morons year after year.
Local, state and federal.
Or are you a typical selfish individual:
If you want it, it's necessary, if someone else wants't it, it's an entitlement.
Like it or not, Obama is the president, and the representatives are the representatives.
If you want change, start backing someone new to run in two years or start campaigning yourself.

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 2:47 PM Just Sayin? said...

I don't like taxes either, but how do you run a government with no money?
A flat tax with no deductions would solve all of our problems and get rid of billions in expenses to pay the IRS.
But you would still have people at the top whining because they pay MORE in taxes, even though it's the same rate.
And for the geniuses who think they are so special because they provide the rest of us with jobs and a reason to live:
YOU WOULDN'T DO IT IF YOU WEREN'T MAKING ENOUGH MONEY TO MAKE IT WORTHWHILE!
So don't sit back and think we should kiss your behind because you are making money and saving the rest of us.
If it weren't for employees, there would be no employers and you wouldn't make any money and feel so superior.
It's give and take. Not take and take.

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 2:43 PM Ms. Pamaba said...

Christians need to understand that the Capitol is not their church. It's a place of government. If they can't accept that, they don't belong there.

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 11:01 AM and God said...

It's the House of Representatives that can't get anything done. Too many asinine baffoons. I actually beleive in the two party system. It's just this past election was my first on social media. I didn't know people were so immature as to pout about an election that didn't go their way. I have voted for both republicans and democrats. I've voted for winners and losers. I think people should be more mature and work for their candidate next time. As for this election, President Obama won so get over it.

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 10:37 AM campaign said...

remember, this was known many many years ago. Nothing new and neither candidate did anything about it in their plans. For the current sitting President to wait until the last minute just says volumes about his leadership.

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 9:56 AM said...

Bringing Christianity into a debate about money just proves the truth about Christianity: Religion is all about money! If Christianity is a corporation. Churches don't pay taxes, but they try to tell the rest of us what to do! If Washington would just govern the country and ignore the Christians, we'd all be better off.


Monday, December 31, 2012 at 9:19 AM Just sayin said...

Keep taxing the RICH,and sooner than later, there won't be a RICH to tax!! Because they too will be the middle class. Then where are you gonna get the taxes from? There should be NO TAX at all being as it was suppose to be a TEMPORARY THING to begin with! So much for that! So go back to your history books and read who said it was temporary and BLAME THEM!! Then think about who you should blame now, WE THE PEOPLE FOR NOT STANDING UP FOR OUR RIGHTS!! As long as our so called government keeps giving people free things, things will only get worse. People don't have the pride they use to have in their work ethics or morals. And that comes right back to our Government for taking GOD out of our schools! God is being left out of everything. This use to be a praying nation. Now it is just a FREE Nation for anyone one who wants a handout! This applies to ANY religion not just Christians! Please pray for our Nation. Thank You and God Bless America :)

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 7:33 AM Jan said...

We don't have a leader in the White House.Too late now, 4 more yrs of crap!

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 10:57 PM CharltonHeston said...

Soylent Green is Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeppppplle!!!!

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 9:23 PM BGP said...

Envisioning Obama squealing like the Geico pig when he gets to spend the next trillion dollars that we don't even have, weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.. we. we. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! Criticized Bush for doing it, but when he does it all you hear is weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 5:03 PM Gray Fox said...

If Butterfield feels it won't happen that means it probably will. Always believe the opposite of what a politician says.

Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 3:19 PM BGP said...

This is my list ranking Big Government Pigs in order, with the first one being the biggest: Obama, the Democrat Party, the media, Hollywood, Gun control/gun ban advocates, the Supreme Court, the Republican Party. What is your list?

Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 3:02 PM BGP said...

If we get rid of the Republicans and the tea party like "And God" wants us to do and just bow down to the big government Democrat pigs in Washington then we'd all live in a fairy tale world, right?? It would be the most fair, equal and moral society anyone's ever seen, right?? Wake up and smell the bacon that "And God" is cooking! Is one party's religion of big government really the answer for our society?? I for one am thankful for the existence of the Tea Party so we don't get those BGP values and morals shoved down the throats of our families, our children, our schools, our churches, our businesses, like we have had for the past 4 years. We need God's values, not government's values.

Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 2:06 PM Wilsn said...

BGP... Youv'e got a second on that. Butterfield is an absolute pig. How is it that they don't see a spending problem and not a tax collection problem? Democrats are doing more to divide the classes, spend as much as they can, and leave us all with the bill. Don't spend more than you make... what's so hard about that? How can these stupid people keep getting elected to do more and more damage to this country? 70 % of all people work for small business in this country. Small business is owned by "rich" people. We will be the ones to pay with job losses and lower pay/benefits. Get out of politics Butterball, and go damage something other then the hard working American.

Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 10:38 AM @ Mr Real said...

the rich provide the jobs for the lower and middle class so they can earn a living, provide for their families and themselves and pay taxes for the democrats, when they are in charge, to blow as fast as it comes in and keep us further in debt. to hell with the fiscal cliff. taxing the rich only will not make a dent in our deficit. let all the Bush era tax cuts expire and the payroll tax cut and all the 1000 dollars per child and earned income tax credit giveaways and let all americans sacrifice until we get our fiscal house back in order. congress and the US senate like local politicans are a bunch of self serving imbeciles who are only out to pad their own pockets and look out for their cronies and big donors. the amercian people should have revolution to stop congress from receiving a big automatic pay raise every year without even voting on it. Oblamer and the democrats need to either extend the tax cuts for everyone or let them expire for everyone. they were never meant to be permanenet anyway. they were TEMPORARY TAX CUTS.

Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 4:48 PM To Mr. Real.... said...

Why did the dems not pass a budget when they had both houses and the white house? Wy do they blame everyone else and offer plan other than increasing taxes on 2% of the citizens?...is that the only solution? Do you not think we need spending cuts? How about drug testing for those so receive welfare. Why did they say they would not go for that?...tax increase on those who employ others will only pay for the government to run and extra 8 days. That sonds like a perfectly good solution....it's nothing more than propaganda for the uninformed masses who only want to be given things from the government. I would like for you to answer those questions honestly....what plan have they offered other than raise taxes on 2% of the those that employ 45% of U.S. workers....and obamacare is only a way (and a smart one at that) to get more people on the government dole whether it be welfare because their job ours are cut below 29 hours or healthcare dole and thus vote democrat. It's true.

Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 4:04 PM and God said...

As usual, not one contructive statement. Some are not even comprehensible. Yes, if we could rid the country of Lindsey Graham (a republican)and Butterfield (a democrat)and their cronies, something might be accomplished. If we go over the "cliff" (got to call it something), my hope is the Republicans with their Tea Party poopers go over the cliff for good.

Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 3:40 PM Butterfield said...

has no clue whats going on in Washington, from his voting record it appears he awaits a phone call from the white house on how to vote, mr butterfield can you not make your own mind up?

Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 8:46 AM Butterball and the democrats said...

could and did not pass a budget when they were in control of both houses of congress and during the first 2 years of Obamacide

Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 8:19 AM jan said...

I 2nd.4 more years.just wait.

Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 8:19 AM Mr. Real said...

The rich think they have no responsibility to this country, the very country that enables them to rake in their wealth.

Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 6:53 AM BGP said...

If this whole fiscal cliff thing doesn't make you realize that you're just a tool for the pigs in Washington than you deserve what you get. It's not about you, me, our families, our children, our businesses, our taxes, our future...!!! It's about ideology and power! Wake up and smell the bacon! Every single one of us is simply a means to an end!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 11:40 PM BGP said...

I make a motion that the Democrats change their symbol from a donkey to a pig. It's only fitting that big government pigs have a symbol they can truly identify with!!!!! Can I get a second?

Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 11:31 PM
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