Schrader on 'cliff' deal: We just 'kicked the can down the road'

Schrader on 'cliff' deal: We just 'kicked the can down the road' »Play Video
Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, spoke to KATU News from Washington, D.C. Wednesday via satellite regarding his vote against the fiscal cliff deal that passed the U.S. House of Representatives following passage in the U.S. Senate.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The late night vote Tuesday on the fiscal cliff deal split the House Republican leadership, but it also drew opposition from some Democrats; in fact, lawmakers in both Oregon and Washington did not vote like the rest of the country.

The House vote 257-167 followed the Senate in passing a bill to avoid massive spending cuts and tax increases that would have hit most Americans.

Sixteen of the 167 votes against the fiscal cliff deal came from Democrats, including three of Oregon's four Democratic representatives Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader.

"(We) basically just kicked the can down the road, which is something we said we weren't gonna be doing," Schrader told KATU News in an interview Wednesday. "We didn't do any spending reform. No entitlement reform. The entitlement programs are in big trouble. Medicare in particular (is in) big, big trouble."

Before the vote, Blumenauer tweeted "a poor stop gap plan is worse than the 'cliff.'"

On Wednesday, Blumenauer said, also in an interview with KATU, the deal represents the least lawmakers could have done under the circumstances.

"I'm really disappointed. This was an opportunity for us to do something major in terms of changing how we do business. An opportunity for meaningful tax reform," he said.

DeFazio called the details of the deal "dumb" saying, "This 'deal' hinders our ability to deal meaningfully with the deficit and burgeoning debt and puts in jeopardy Social Security and Medicare in the coming confrontation over the debt limit."

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici was the only yes vote from Oregon's Democratic delegation. She said the bill wasn't perfect, but the alternative was worse.

And Oregon's only Republican, Rep. Greg Walden, also backed it, saying it was crucial to avoid large-scale tax increases on middle-class Americans.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, whose district is in southwest Washington, also voted for the bill. Washington's three other GOP representatives did too.

New York and Pennsylvania are the only other states with multiple Republican House members who backed it.