Congressmen Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, cast votes in favor of American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, legislation put in place to avert a so-called "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases and federal spending cuts.
Congress on Tuesday night approved the bill in a 257 to 167 vote. The plan maintains tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 and couples earning less than $450,000, and increases taxes for those earning more.
President Barack Obama signed the deal into law early Thursday morning. Of the vote, 172 Democrats, including Doyle, and 85 Republicans, including Murphy, favored the bill.
The law's passage capped off weeks of gridlocked negotiations as Washington lawmakers wrangled over spending cuts and tax increases for higher income earners.
GOP lawmakers argued the bill did not offer steep enough spending cuts to social and health programs—151 house Republicans voted "no" on the measure.
Murphy, whose district covers Moon, Crescent and portions of Robinson, called the bill "imperfect:"
“The process and product are imperfect, but what has been achieved can’t be overlooked. We’ve overcome the impasse to permanently lock in lower tax rates for 99 percent of taxpayers. Tonight’s vote opens the door for work to begin in the next session of Congress on significant cuts in federal spending, meaningful tax reform, and pro-growth policies to get our country back on solid fiscal footing.”
Doyle, whose district includes portions of Robinson, released the following statement:
“I supported this legislation to prevent tax increases on the middle class and harm to our economy. This bill will prevent income taxes from going up on households with incomes of less than $450,000 a year and individuals with incomes of less than $400,000. In addition, it will extend emergency unemployment benefits for another year. Finally, it provides a permanent fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax—and a year-long “doc” fix. I was glad that at the last minute, Congress came together to prevent a devastating blow to our economy and to tens of millions of middle- and working-class Americans.”
What are your thoughts on the American Taxpayer Relief Act? Were Murphy and Doyle correct to vote in favor of the bill? Share your thoughts in the comments.