Rangel: ‘Common Sense Has Prevailed’

By Elizabeth Harrington | January 3, 2013 | 9:46 AM EST

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) says “common sense has prevailed” with passage of the $332-billion “fiscal cliff” deal, which hikes taxes on America’s top income earners but does not cut federal spending.

“We created this monster,” Rangel said on the House floor just before the bill passed 257 to 167 late Tuesday night, largely with Democratic votes.  “We’re the ones that have said—at least (House Republicans have said), ‘Do what you have to do, but for God sake, don’t ask the top two percent of the wealthiest people in this civilized country to pay their fair share. And while you’re thinking about taxing people, why don’t you start talking about cutting people off from unemployment compensation?  Why don’t you think about not providing so much for the sick and the aged -- why don’t you start privatizing these things?’” 

“This was not the America that I knew when I came to the Congress,” said Rangel, who has served since 1971.  “This was something that a handful of people from nowhere came here and started preaching that we had to destroy big government. 

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“And the vulnerable, who had no lobbies, had no one to come to, were saved by us-- by responsible people who came together and said, basically, have you lost your mind? What are you doing?  How can you go home and tell the people this is what you created?

“And so we pause,” Rangel said.  “And common sense has prevailed.” 

“And we can at least go back home and say, ‘Not now,’” he added.  “But they’re coming again.  They have all types of words that they’re using like the debt ceiling.  But all it means is that they’re coming after us and they’re coming after the president.”

Rangel was among the 172 House Democrats who voted for the last-minute deal, brokered by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday.  A majority of Republicans voted against it, although 85 members, including House Speaker John Boehner, supported it.

The Senate passed the bill 89-8 at 1:39 on Tuesday morning.

According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis, the deal will increase federal spending by $332 billion over the next ten years, while raising tax rates on individuals earning over $400,000 and families earning more than $450,000 per year.

The deal also phases out exemptions and deductions for individuals earning more than $250,000 per year and for couples earning more than $300,000, according to a summary published by the New York Times.