Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Fiscal Cliff Agreement

It is not the agreement that I or any one of us would have written on our own, but it does includes several important provisions that will benefit every Vermonter, our state’s economy and the nation.

The agreement continues unemployment benefits for those still struggling to find work during the fragile economic recovery.  It prevents tax hikes that would have suddenly hit middle income families across Vermont.  Something especially important to Vermont and our state’s dairy farmers is the time this agreement buys to finally pass the long-delayed Farm Bill, while offering safety net help to dairy farmers in the meantime.

The agreement at least temporarily eases months of needless uncertainty.  This was a made-in-Congress crisis imposed on everyone by factional obstructionism in the House.  Uncertainty is corrosive throughout the economy.  Farmers need to plan not just for the next month but for the next year. Uncertainty affects doctors and their Medicare patients, families who need to know if they can count on continuation of the education tax credit, and businesses contemplating expansion.  Prolonged uncertainty on these basic questions hurts everyone. 

The key was the decision to allow it to pass by a bipartisan vote in the House.  I hope this is a sign that Republican leaders may begin allowing members to vote on other key issues such as Hurricane Sandy relief and a five-year farm bill.


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