Pa. lawmakers react to fiscal cliff deal

While stressing that the bill was far from perfect, Pennsylvania’s lawmakers praised the work done by Congress to avert the fiscal cliff Tuesday.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said one of his top priorities has been encouraging economic growth and job creation.

“Consistent with this commitment, today, I voted to protect 99 percent of taxpayers from a large tax increase. In addition, we made this tax relief permanent, thereby establishing the predictability necessary to promote economic growth and job creation,” he said in a statement.

“Neither side got everything it wanted in this deal,” Toomey said. “I had to accept provisions I did not like — my preference would have been to avoid higher taxes for all Americans. But I believe this legislation is the best we could do for taxpayers and job seekers in Pennsylvania.”

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said after the Senate passed the bill early Tuesday, 89-8, that politicians from both parties now must work together to cut the deficit “in smart and responsible ways that protect working families and continue to create jobs.”

“While this deal is far from perfect, the Senate took the appropriate steps to protect the middle class and keep in place common sense measures — like the earned income tax credit and unemployment insurance — that will help keep the economy on track,” he said in a statement.

After the House passed the measure late Tuesday, 257-167, sending it to President Barack Obama, U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson called on the Senate and president to work with the House to address the national debt.

"Without passage of this agreement, each and every one of my constituents would have received a tax increase,” Thompson said in a statement. “While far from perfect, the proposal protects 99 percent of taxpayers from scheduled rate increases and provides the certainty necessary for families to plan and businesses to grow by making this tax relief permanent.”

Thompson, R-Howard Township, added that the measure also extends the farm bill law through 2013, “protecting both farmers and consumers financially,” and also prevents cuts in Medicare Part B payments to doctors.