“We will only solve this problem when we finally get the spending under control,” Mr. Toomey said. “And the debt ceiling, and after that, the continuing resolution expiration, those are the vehicles that give us the opportunity to insist on making progress on the real problem.”
But Rep. Sander M. Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, echoed the president’s view that the fiscal cliff agreement has created a guideline for future talks on deficit reduction.
“This package is vital for future deficit-reduction efforts, setting the stage for a balanced approach from here on out by delaying sequestration through 1-1 revenue-to-spending cuts,” Mr. Levin said.
Both sides dispute just how much the fiscal cliff bill accomplishes. While the president is hailing it as a deficit-reduction measure, the agreement would boost the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, when compared with a scenario in which Congress did nothing.
Democrats said the legislation will lower deficits by about $600 billion over 10 years compared with current policy, because doing nothing was never a realistic option. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the bill will increase spending over the next decade by about $330 billion.
The agreement includes an extension of lower tax rates for families earning up to $450,000, and a patch to the alternative minimum tax that adds roughly $3.6 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. Other business and energy tax extenders would add a further $76 billion. The extension of unemployment benefits for about 2 million people will cost roughly $30 billion, and the so-called “doc fix” on Medicare reimbursements will cost an additional $25 billion.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
When you need to know who is making business, and what business is being made, you need the Business Browser.
How does our 50th state view D.C. politics?
A collection of reader guest articles, thoughts and opinions by Communities writers and breaking news and information.
Reflections on raising families in a holistic way -- with a focus on nutrition and alternative health.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall