Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., reluctantly voted in favor of the last-minute fiscal cliff agreement but could not resist lashing out at the "special interest giveaways" included in the legislation in a statement released on Thursday.
"In the coming weeks and months, Republicans and Democrats will need to come together and make many hard and likely unpopular decisions to get our country's long-term finances back in order," McCain said. "To accomplish this, we'll need the American people on our side."
He added, "That's why it's so incredibly disappointing that Members of Congress saw fit to add hundreds of millions of dollars in special-interest handouts to the recently-passed 'fiscal cliff' bill, which had the simple purpose of avoiding massive tax rate increases on average Americans."
McCain specifically pointed to $430 million in tax breaks for Hollywood film and TV producers, $70 million in tax incentives for NASCAR track builders, $59 million in tax credits for algae growers, $15 million in subsidies for asparagus growers and $7 million for buyers of electric scooters.
The Arizona Senator said "larding up" the fiscal cliff legislation with giveaways to special interests and campaign contributors will add to Americans' justifiable cynicism and make it harder for Congress to address the mounting national debt.
"I reluctantly supported the flawed 'fiscal cliff' agreement because I could not stand by and watch taxes go up on all Americans, but these provisions obviously make that vote harder to justify today," McCain said.
He added, "If we don't end this shameful conduct and begin winning back the basic respect of the American people, it will be all the more difficult to gain their support to tackle the many difficult challenges we face."
The fiscal cliff The agreement, which was negotiated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., and Vice President Joe Biden, calls for the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for individuals earning more than $400,000 and households earning more than $450,000.
Payroll taxes and taxes on capital gains and dividends also go up under the agreement, which also extends unemployment benefits.
Meanwhile, the legislation delays the automatic spending cuts that were due to go into effect at the end of last year for two months, meaning that there are future budget negotiations ahead.
by RTT Staff Writer
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