East Tennessee lawmakers vote 'no' on fiscal cliff deal

East Tennessee lawmakers vote 'no' on fiscal cliff deal

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"I thought we needed to reduce taxes and reduce spending, that's what I wanted to do," Rep. Jimmy Duncan said in a satellite interview from Washington. "I thought we needed to reduce taxes and reduce spending, that's what I wanted to do," Rep. Jimmy Duncan said in a satellite interview from Washington.
"I want to see tax reform in this country, but ultimately the federal government is spending too much money and borrowing too much money," Rep. Fleischmann said. "I want to see tax reform in this country, but ultimately the federal government is spending too much money and borrowing too much money," Rep. Fleischmann said.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – After another late night on Capitol Hill, the nation will avoid most of the impact of going over the fiscal cliff, at least for now.

But the House vote on the agreement was far more divided than in the Senate, with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle voting against the leadership in their parties.

The final vote came down to 257 to 167, with 85 Republicans voting for it.

While it was a bipartisan effort, the Republicans that represent East Tennessee were happy with some of the tax cuts, but overall could not get behind a bill that failed to address spending cuts.

"I thought we needed to reduce taxes and reduce spending, that's what I wanted to do and so with our national debt where it is I didn't think we needed to increase spending. This adds as I said almost $4 trillion over 10 years," Rep. Jimmy Duncan said in a satellite interview from Washington.

Congressman Duncan, along with all four of East Tennessee's representatives - Rep. Phil Roe, Rep. Scott DesJarlais and Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, voted no against the late-night deal.

"I voted early to extend tax cuts to all Americans. I want to make sure that the bill we sent over in August, I want to see tax reform in this country, but ultimately the federal government is spending too much money and borrowing too much money," Rep. Fleischmann said.

But they all agreed on the extension of tax cuts for people earning less than $400,000.  

"That was a good thing to lock those rates in. With a Republican House, Senate and President when those were passed in the early 2000s could not get a permanent rate, so that's a good thing," Rep. Phil Roe said.

But the bill delays across-the-board spending cuts, meaning another battle isn't far off.

"This one looks like a little skirmish versus what's coming up with the debt ceiling," Rep. Roe explained.

The question over how to deal with the nation's $16 trillion debt could come as early as February.

"Well we have to cut almost every department and agency in the federal government," Rep. Duncan said.

Rep. Fleischmann agreed that cuts need to be made, and they need to be made fast.

"If the United States wants to get serious about getting its fiscal house in order so we don't keep having these fiscal cliffs, we can sit down as a nation, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, put party aside and let's get fiscally responsible," said Rep. Fleischmann.

The dislike over the bill crossed party lines here in Tennessee, with Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper voting no. The only yes vote from the state came from Memphis Rep. Steve Cohen.

With the bill raising tax rates on those making more than $400,000, it will mark the first time in nearly two decades that federal income tax rates have gone up.

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