Ross Waits For Word On Tax and Budget Deal


Published: Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 2:56 a.m.

LAKELAND | U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, made it home for Christmas holiday Friday, earlier than he thought he would.

But he is waiting by the phone to learn whether he will fly back to Washington.

Members of the Republican-controlled U.S. House thought they'd be wrangling with the Democrat-controlled Senate through Saturday over Speaker John Boehner's Plan B, a fallback plan to avoid automatic tax increases and spending cuts on Jan. 1.

But Boehner pulled his bill instead of taking a vote after it appeared Thursday afternoon his own party members in the House would not pass it.

"I have to give him credit for the courage it took to pull it. Had it gone to a vote and been defeated it would have been drastic," Ross said.

Ross said he "probably" would have voted against the speaker's bill.

"(The Republican leadership) first brought up the Spending Reduction Act that we passed in August and it passed by only three votes (Thursday)," Ross said, "and it was more than the usual conservatives in the party who voted against it."

Ross said the Republican Party may now have found itself in a no-win situation.

"The Republicans are going to get blamed if they support raising taxes on the top 1 percent of wage earners and they are going to get blamed if we go over the cliff," he said referring to the automatic tax increases and spending cuts.

"That is probably the political path the president intended all along," he said. "People will become incensed at the tax increases and he can send to Congress a bill, which will be basically his bill to remove the tax increases just on everyone under the $250,000-a-year salary level."

Ross said members of Congress would get a 48-hour notice to return after Christmas if a deal can be reached between President Barack Obama and the Republicans in the House.

[ Political Editor Bill Rufty can be reached at 802-7523 or bill.rufty@theledger.com. ]

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