Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) suggested his party mates in the Senate might have been celebrating the new year a bit too much while voting for the tax increases in the deal that averted the so-called “fiscal cliff” on Tuesday.
“I can’t account for what happens after midnight in all that partying and revelry and drinking that goes on on New Year’s Eve at two in the morning,” Issa told CNN host Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday, cracking a joke at the expense of Senate Republicans. “What I can tell you is, they did half a bill.”
Issa later explained that he was “having a little bit of fun” with Blitzer. As Think Progress reported, Issa’s fellow House Republican, Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) made a similar wisecrack on Twitter the same day.
The bill increases taxes on couples making more than $450,000 per year and individuals making more than $400,000, features that Issa acknowledged would be “popular,” while knocking it for not only lacking spending cuts, but including additional spending. He specifically criticized the extension of unemployment benefits and a relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy he said would cost “between $27 and $60 billion.”
The tax increase in the bill, which now heads to President Barack Obama’s desk for approval, is expected to produce an additional $600 billion in revenue for the country over the course of the next decade. Issa also cited new estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) saying the deal would add nearly $4 trillion to the country’s deficit during the same time period.
“Right now, the president is still in a spending mood,” Issa said. “We need to get him in a savings mood.”
Issa also sounded off on the prospect of revisiting the debate in two months, when Congress is scheduled to discuss the set of spending cuts collectively known as the “sequestration,” which would have taken effect on Wednesday had the bill not passed.
“I don’t think those should be put off,” he said. “I think they could easily be dealt with today.”
Watch Issa’s interview with Blitzer, posted on YouTube on Tuesday by Think Progress, below.