Regional elected officials react to fiscal cliff deal
WORTHINGTON -- Congress may have passed a bill to avoid the "fiscal cliff," but the country's budget and the financial future remains a hot topic among elected officials.
While neither Republicans nor Democrats were able to pass the bill they wanted, the two sides were able to come together to reach a compromise. In a press release, U.S. Congressman Tim Walz called the deal a good first step.
"I voted for this bill because it will protect middle-class families from an income tax hike, and it will protect our economy," Walz said.
Walz noted that while there were many good provisions within the bill, it is far from perfect.
Walz was disappointed with the Farm Bill extension, which extended the 2008 bill and didn't include funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program.
"We passed a five-year Farm Bill out of committee in July, and there is simply no good reason why House leadership continues to block it from being brought forward for a vote," Walz said.
While Walz acknowledge that while the bill was not what he had hoped, he remains committed working for a balanced deal.
"Moving forward, I will continue to advocate for a big, balanced deal that will work to tackle the debt, grow the economy and give certainty to businesses and middle class families," Walz said.
Minnesota District 22 Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne, was unsure if anything was accomplished with the bill that was passed. Everyone has been concerned about taxes, but lawmakers could have passed something later and set the effective date to Jan. 1, he said.
"I don't know what great salvation it was," Weber said. "The truth is, they haven't addressed the core issues, and the core issue is they are spending too much money."
Weber said there will never be a true solution until the government is able to control spending.
"They want to congratulate themselves, but the truth of the matter is that they have just done the same thing as before and moved the problem down the road," Weber said.
Weber anticipates additional problems when the Affordable Health Care Act takes full effect next year and additional taxes are implemented.
"Additional taxes will come into play for various segments of the economy," Weber said. "We haven't begun to feel the effects of Obamacare yet."
"I can see why many folks are angry about that," Schomacker said.
Secondly, he continued, Congress desperately needs to work on passing a budget.
"They can't keep kicking the can down the road. Then we get results like this, and no one really wins," he said.
States also need to work toward being less dependent on federal dollars, Schomacker added. In health care alone, he said, Minnesota is too reliant on the federal government.
Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh was disappointed in Congress' inability to make a decision sooner.
"It's a shame that it took until past the 11th hour to get the two sides together to get the thing done," he said.
Oberloh also noted that Congress will still have work to do in the months ahead.
"Two months from now, tough decisions still have to be made," he said. "Whether Congress will have the ability to do that still remains to be seen."
Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached