Dear and Gracious Readers,
Welcome to the post-Mayan-apocalyptic-non-happening. Of course.
On the other hand, the real surprise is that our country still functions with the most do-nothing Congress in all our history.
Madame L wrote an email message to her representative in Congress regarding the so-called fiscal cliff, asking for specifics on how this person has voted and intends to vote on the issue, and here is the reply Madame L received. You don't have to read the whole thing, unless you're interested in the study of meaninglessness. But just a glance will convince you of what Madame L has repeatedly noted with this person: a compendium of meaningless catch-phrases, no substance to back them up.
Yet Madame L, ever the optimist, continues to write and call this person's office so Madame L's opinions will be known, even if ignored.
December 20, 2012
Dear [Madame L],
Thank you for contacting me about "the fiscal cliff." It is an honor to serve as [your region's] representative in Congress, and your thoughts are important to me.
I appreciate your feedback regarding what many are considering a "fiscal cliff" – an expiration of tax breaks combined with sequester cuts and other issues scheduled to hit at the end of the year. I am continuing to gather input from families, small businesses, and citizens throughout Southwest Washington to evaluate the potential impact of this situation on our communities. I am hopeful that Congress will help avoid any impacts that would harm [your region] residents. Right now, Congressional leaders are negotiating with the White House to arrive at a proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff. I will be carefully reading any final proposal to see if it adequately protects [your region] and its priorities, while maintaining our commitment to saving taxpayer money and balancing our budget.
Last year Congress made progress toward reducing overall spending. Congress passed, and the President signed, the Budget Control Act (BCA) to reduce federal spending over the next 10 years. Though not perfect, the BCA put in motion a bipartisan agreement to reduce spending in all levels of the federal government. It saved taxpayers $900 billion by reducing and capping discretionary spending through fiscal year 2021. However, freezing discretionary spending alone will not solve our country's fiscal problems.
The BCA also created the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and tasked it with recommending an additional $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years. The committee's failure to devise a plan triggered sequestration, and $109 billion in annual automatic cuts spending are scheduled to take place starting in 2013. Half of the cuts will come from the Department of Defense and the remainder from discretionary, non-defense spending.
Various proposals have been made thus far to avoid sequestration and the "fiscal cliff", but it is important to note that a specific plan has not been agreed upon at this point. We need a balanced approach – one that that reduces federal spending without exempting certain departments from savings. For instance, I have voted consistently to find savings and trim excess spending in the Pentagon budget that won't jeopardize troops in the field or compromise our commitment to our veterans.
I am willing to working with anyone with common sense ideas to meet our country's fiscal challenges.
Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue. I invite you to visit my website at [representative's website] for additional information or to sign up to be kept up to date on these issues. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of assistance.
Member of Congress
Member of Congress