Utah's House members blast fiscal cliff delay
Washington • All three of Utah's House members were waiting around the Capitol on Monday, spending their New Year's Eve awaiting word that they might be called to vote to halt the tax increases on Americans.
Instead, they ended up popping the nonalcoholic sparking cider and hoping for a new year's resolution between President Barack Obama and Congress that could avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
With the House calling off any potential votes Monday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz flipped between "Braveheart" and college football and decried the impasse that curtailed any meaningful deal.
"It's terribly frustrating," Chaffetz said. "I blame the United States Senate for being pathetically slow and I don't think the president did anything to help the process."
The GOP-controlled House passed a bill in August that would protect all current tax rates, but the Senate never took up the Republican measure. All three Utahns in the House including Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson voted for it.
For his part, Matheson says it's a complete failure of the democratic process to be facing the tax increases without congressional action.
"I've been disappointed this wasn't addressed several weeks ago," he said Monday night. That said, he notes, "I don't think there's some precipitous change to our economy that happens at the stroke of midnight."
Matheson, who spent the day with his family in Washington at the Newseum and the National Museum of the American Indian, says the House could be voting Tuesday or Wednesday the last day of the congressional session but so far there isn't any legislation to even look at.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, followed his Republican colleagues' censure of the Senate for not passing anything before the deadline.
"I really don't want to sound like I'm putting the blame on one person because I certainly would not do that [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid but, bottom line, the House had actually passed its work," Bishop told KSL Newsradio's Doug Wright. "The Senate actually has to do something. Finally."