Delaware senator explains fiscal cliff “no vote”

A day after Congresses passes a fiscal cliff deal, Senator Tom Carper was back in his home state of Delaware where he defended his decision to vote against the bill and talked about the work that still needs to be done on Capitol Hill in the coming months.

The senator started the day touring the newly constructed Bayhealth Emergency Center in Smyrna before heading to Dover for a luncheon with alumni from the U.S. Naval Academy. It was there he explained his decision as one of only three democrats to vote against the fiscal cliff deal on Capitol Hill. 

Carper is well-known for traditionally siding with his party so the decision to go against the democrat-supported bill was surprising to many. His staff only put out a written statement on New Year’s Day.  During his senate campaign he talked about the need to compromise between democrats and republicans.  He has also talked about the need to find revenues and spending cuts, now he says more has to be done.  He wants others from the middle who thinks like him to step up.

“I don’t want to demean the vote of my colleagues, I’m sure they did what they thought was right,” said Carper. “I felt that a centrist democrat or a centrist republican would stand up and say ‘ we cant keep doing this’. We can’t continue to go down this path. If we continue to ignore entitlements, if we continue to no really raise revenue we’ll never get anywhere.”

The fiscal cliff deal extends Bush era tax cuts and extends long-term unemployment benefits that were set to expire. It is also expected to raise tax rates from 35 percent to 39.6 percent on income for individuals who earn more than $400,000 a year and couples who bring in more than $450,000 a year.

However, Carper and many opponents are unhappy with the deal because there is no government spending cuts, meaning the budget deficit will continue to grow.

Carper said in the coming months, he’s going to do everything in his power to search and cut wasteful spending.

“What I hope to do as chairman of the homeland security and government affairs committee, starting tomorrow, is really focus and use our investigative powers in the committee to poke at every nook and cranny of the federal government and ask the question of how we get a better result with less money or a better result for the same amount of money from everything we do.”

Congress’s next challenge is deciding whether or not to raise the nation’s debt ceiling in February.

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