While one of Southwest Riverside's Congressional Republicans voted against the American Taxpayer Relief Act—the compromise that kept the nation from falling over the so-called fiscal cliff—two prominent legislators broke ranks with the GOP to pass the bill.
Representatives Ken Calvert and Mary Bono Mack voted in favor of the act, while Rep. Darrell Issa cast a no vote. Calvert cast his yes vote as representative of the 44th Congressional District, which included, among others, the nearby cities of Corona and Norco; Bono Mack as representative of the 45th, which included, among others, Murrieta; and Issa as representative of the 49th, which included Temecula, Wildomar and Lake Elsinore, as well as others.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 to avert the fiscal cliff late Tuesday night. The vote was 257 to 167.
New and reelected members of the House were sworn into office on Thursday. Calvert now represents the 42nd Congressional District, which includes, among others, the cities of Lake Elsinore, Murrieta and Wildomar. Issa no longer represents Southwest Riverside, and Bono Mack lost her reelection bid.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, who cast a no vote as representative of the 52nd Congressional District that included a portion of northeast San Diego County, won his reelection bid and now represents, among other jurisdictions, a portion of the Temecula area in the 50th District.
In a Dec. 8 letter out of Riverside addressed to Calvert, President Barack Obama, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, the writer told the leaders, "Allowing the leap off the forthcoming fiscal cliff will have a huge negative impact on me and my family. The bickering and adolescence approach to finding a solution boils down to what I see as the GOP holding steadfast to their signed commitment to no tax increase. This is honorable on the surface but in reality what the GOP is doing is raising taxes by doing nothing.
"I’m a Republican and I view the GOP’s inaction and their offsetting proposal of doing away with loopholes as raising taxes by deception and default," the letter read.
For his part, Calvert has not published any statements on the vote, which saw 85 Republicans vote for the Act, versus 151 who cast no votes. One-hundred-and-seventy-two House Demcrats voted for the Act, compared to just 16 who voted against. Five Republicans and three Democrats did not cast votes.
The bill permanently extends current tax rates for income less than $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for households, along with a combination of other spending cuts without raising the nation’s debt limit.
The deal does not include the payroll tax break that expired at the end of 2012. For people earning $50,000 in annual salary, that means a loss of around $80 per month to higher taxes, or about an extra $1,000 per year.
The Democratic-controlled Senate overwhelmingly passed the fiscal cliff compromise at 2 a.m. Tuesday with a vote of 89-8.
Issa appeared on CNN to make his case, arguing that the bill’s absence of significant spending cuts makes it unpalatable. In a speech on the House floor, he said, “When faced with a mountain of debt that we’re heading for like an airplane, did we climb over the it? No. What we are going to do in the present plan is put nearly another trillion dollars worth of debt on the American people.”