Alabama lawmakers vote no 7-2

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The U.S. Representative for Alabama’s Second Congressional District, including Pike County, did not vote in favor of a last-minute tax deal crafted by the Senate and Vice President Joe Biden.

“Washington doesn’t have a taxing problem; it has a spending problem,” said Congresswoman Martha Roby. “We have $16 trillion in debt. We spend more than a trillion dollars more than we take in every year. It’s past time we get serious about this country’s spending problem and restore fiscal sanity to the budget.”

Roby said the deal presented by the Senate didn’t contain real spending cuts and she couldn’t support it.

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And she wasn’t alone.

All six Republicans in Alabama’s House delegation voted against the legislation, along with Republican Sen. Richard Shelby.

Alabama’s lone Democrat, Rep. Terri Sewell voted yes on the bill that passed 257-167 late Tuesday night. Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions also voted yes when the matter passed in the Senate 89-8 Tuesday morning.

“This legislation is necessary to prevent a large and painful tax increase from falling on the vast majority of Americans,” Sessions said. “Its enactment will end a long period of uncertainty that would weaken or even reverse economic growth. Now, it is important that we place our focus directly on the real cause of our nation’s looming debt crisis: the continued surge in spending.”

President Barack Obama said the deal “protects 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small business owners from a middle-class tax hike. While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country.”

Even though the tax package that Congress passed New Year’s Day will protect 99 percent of Americans from an income tax increase, most people will still pay more federal taxes in 2013.

That’s because the newly passed legislation doesn’t prevent a temporary reduction in the Social Security payroll tax from expiring.

Obama pushed hard to enact the payroll tax cut for 2011 and to extend it through 2012. But it was never fully embraced by either party, and this time around, there was general agreement to let it expire.

The Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington research group, estimates that 77 percent of American households will face higher federal taxes in 2013 under the agreement negotiated between President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans. High-income families will feel the biggest tax increases, but many middle- and low-income families will pay higher taxes too.

Households making between $40,000 and $50,000 will face an average tax increase of $579 in 2013, according to the Tax Policy Center’s analysis. Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will face an average tax increase of $822.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.