Herrera Beutler votes against her party on 1 ‘fiscal cliff’ proposal

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler is split on the two bills House Republicans promoted last month to resolve the “fiscal cliff.”

While Herrera Beutler appears to stand by her fellow Republicans when it comes to extending tax cuts for even the richest Americans, Herrera Beutler continues to vote against Republicans’ spending reduction plan. She says the plan doesn’t take a hard look at reducing waste in defense spending.

The so-called fiscal cliff loomed as tax cuts were set to expire and across-the-board spending cuts — also known as “sequestration” — were scheduled to kick in at the end of 2012. Republicans in the House ended up passing a bill to replace the automatic spending cuts with their own spending reduction plan. They also touted a bill from August to extend all tax cuts, even for the wealthiest Americans.

Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, was just one of 21 House Republicans to vote on Dec. 20 against the party’s spending reduction plan.

The congresswoman did not support Republican’s Spending Reduction Act of 2012 because “it did not seek one dollar of savings from the Pentagon’s budget,” her spokesman, Casey Bowman, wrote in an email on Monday. “Jaime would not support cutting veterans’ benefits or help to our troops on the front lines, but there is waste in other areas of the Defense Department and Jaime does not believe it’s fair to exempt the Pentagon when virtually every other federal agency is being subjected to cuts.”

The tax plan Herrera Beutler voted in favor of would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans. Just one Republican in the House voted against that bill, which passed the Republican-controlled House this summer.

“In August, Jaime voted for a plan to keep taxes from going up on hardworking Southwest Washington families and small businesses in hopes of preventing this 11th-hour DC dysfunction,” Bowman wrote. “It’s frustrating that didn’t happen.”

As fiscal cliff negotiations stalled last month, Republican House Speaker John Boehner asked the Democratic-controlled Senate to pass the two House bills regarding tax cuts and spending reductions. Meanwhile, other members of Congress and President Barack Obama had plans of their own, including one to let the tax cuts expire for the nation’s top 2 percent of wage earners.

As of Monday afternoon, a deal regarding the fiscal cliff had not been reached.

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