Murphy joins West in criticizing ‘fiscal cliff’ dealby George Bennett | January 2nd, 2013
But West and Murphy have found some common ground in criticizing the “fiscal cliff” deal approved by Congress Tuesday.
West voted against the deal Tuesday night, citing concerns about its tax hikes and failure to rein in spending. Murphy, who will be sworn in Thursday, released a statement late Tuesday saying he’s pleased middle-class tax cuts will be preserved but “extremely disappointed” in the overall package.
The deal prevents an income tax increase for individuals earning less than $400,000 and couples making less than $450,000. But it does little to address long-term deficit and debt issues, merely delaying by two months the imposition of automatic spending cuts that would total $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
That means Murphy and other members of the 113th Congress will have to deal with more fiscal drama as the automatic spending cuts approach and President Barack Obama is expected to ask for an increase in the debt ceiling.
In an interview today, Murphy said Congress must consider spending cuts and “structural changes” to Social Security and Medicare to address the deficit, which has topped $1 trillion each of the last four years, and the $16.3 trillion national debt.
But Murphy offered few specifics on where savings could occur.
“We have to look at everything — waste, fraud and abuse, defense and non-defense….everything has to be on the table and it’s got to be long-term,” Murphy said.
Murphy also said he’d favor increasing Social Security payroll tax revenues by raising the cap on income subject to the 12.4 percent tax from the current $113,700 to about $150,000.
On Medicare, Murphy said Congress needs to find ways to control health care cost increases and should wait to see whether the federal health care law can bring about additional savings.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the legislation approved Tuesday will increase deficits will nearly $4 trillion over the next decade when compared to projected deficits if all tax cuts had expired and the spending cuts had kicked in.
The White House, on the other hand, says the legislation will reduce deficits by $737 billion over 10 years when compared to projected deficits if Congress had allowed all the current tax rates to continue. The bulk of that figure, $618 billion, comes from higher income taxes on the wealthy.