From the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley
Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after the Senate passed a deal that would avert the fiscal cliff.
“My measuring stick for this fiscal cliff deal, like every bill I consider, is how it will impact working families throughout Oregon. And while I have deep misgivings about the next steps, I have concluded that this deal is worth supporting.
“Without this bill, every family in Oregon would have seen its tax bills go up and our economy would have gone back into a recession. Without this bill, 30,000 unemployed Oregonians would have been cut off at the knees, without money to pay for food or rent as they look for work. And importantly, this bill protects the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits our seniors depend on.
“Although it does not do as much as I want, this bill does ensure that the wealthy will be contributing more as we work to bring our deficits under control. I far prefer that choice to further cuts to education, law enforcement, and investments in the infrastructure our economy depends on.
“But let’s be clear: this deal carries great risks as well. This deal sets up more cliffs in the near future, including the expiring debt ceiling and the sequestration, pre-planned cuts to programs essential to working families. And as before, there will be some who use these cliffs to launch renewed attacks on Medicare and Social Security. We cannot let those attacks succeed.
“The way that we address these upcoming battles will determine whether we succeed in building a foundation for a vibrant economy and fiscal responsibility, or lock ourselves into structural deficits and stagnation.”