Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) on Wednesday said Republicans had been “whooped” in
negotiations to avert the “fiscal cliff.”
The centrist Ohio lawmaker, who is leaving Congress after this term, said GOP lawmakers who backed the tax bill, which passed the House and Senate on New Year's Day, had no choice but to vote for the measure.
The bill passed on Jan. 1 by both chambers extends the expiring Bush-era tax rates for individuals earning up to $400,000 and households earning up to $450,000. The deal also postpones the across-the-board sequester cuts until March.
One-hundred and fifty-one House Republicans voted against the bill, with 85 voting for the measure. Conservative Republicans revolted against the bill, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said would add $4 trillion to the deficit, arguing that it failed to address spending cuts.
LaTourette said he was dismayed that the White House and lawmakers had once again punted on the tough choices needed to rein in the deficit.
“It’s outrageous and it’s because no one will make the difficult decisions necessary to get this thing done. It is a problem that requires a $4 [trillion] to $6 trillion fix. Quite frankly, the president won’t show the leadership to get it done on the entitlement side; we’ve been slow to the dance on the revenue side,” he said.
“We all knew the president was going to get his way. He campaigned on raising taxes, he wanted to raise taxes, he wins,” LaTourette continued. “But now it’s time for people to face up to the fact that it’s not just on the revenue side, you really have to cut some of these programs that have been around since the Great Depression and figure out how to make them viable and sustainable.”
LaTourette jokingly added of the late vote in the Senate on Wednesday morning that “nothing good happens after midnight on New Year’s Eve.”
Asked if Republicans would have been better off accepting the president’s initial offer, which included deficit cuts, earlier in negotiations, LaTourette said no.
"The president was never serious about spending cuts,” he said. “This required a big deal on taxes and spending and everybody was afraid to make the deal."