The Bush tax cuts are about to expire, effectively raising the tax rate for all Americans if congress can't make a deal and come up with a new tax plan by the end of the year.
- NPR's It's All Politics blog did an excellent job summing up the major parts of the partisan disagreement in an article posted yesterday, "Fiscal Cliff Compromise: Devil Is In The Definition Of Revenue"
Republicans who committed to not raising taxes are reluctant to open the possibility of doing so no matter what form. They say closing the loopholes and making cuts is the best way to reduce the deficit and raise revenue.
During the presidential campaign, President Obama repeatedly pushed for extending the Bush tax cuts for middle-to-lower income families and allowing the cuts to expire on the richest 2 percent in order to raise revenue.
Billionaire CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffet has voiced his support for this approach, and was on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With John Stewart" last night.
Both parties may finally work out their differences and come up with a compromise that each can live with, but so far that hasn't happened. Republicans don't want the stigma of raising taxes attached to their name, which could be the case if they allow the cuts to expire or reach a deal. Democrats that caught grief about extending the Bush tax cuts last time around may feel that they have a point to prove, and may elect for an 'our deal or no deal' hard line on this particular issue.
There is, however, a silver lining
Should lawmakers fail to reach a deal, it may be just the spark that people need to write and call their elected officials about getting things done; the democratic process is about a lot more than just voting.
To help you share your own opinion, we compiled this list of email contacts for San Antonio area representatives in Congress, and our U.S. Senators:
Refer to the district map at the top to see who represents you, and then find their name here. Some of these representatives are changing next legislative session, but these are the people who are in Washington right now. Each representative has a (not so) handy contact form to fill out, which is partly to ensure that only communication from within the district gets answered.
Find your representatives through the state tool at: www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us
Texas Congressional District 15: Rubén Hinojosa (D)
- Email at: hinojosa.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
- Call (Washington D.C. office): (202) 225-2531
Texas Congressional District 20: Charlie Gonzales (D)
- Email at: forms.house.gov/gonzalez/webforms/issue_subscribe.htm
- Call (Washington D.C. office): (202) 225-3236
Texas Congressional District 21: Lamar Smith (R)
- Email at: lamarsmith.house.gov/contact
- Call (Washington D.C. office): (202) 225-4236
Texas Congressional District 23: Francisco "Quico" Canseco (R)
- Email at: canseco.house.gov/contact
- Call (Washington D.C. office): (202) 225-4511
Texas Congressional District 28: Henry Cuellar (D)
- Email at: cuellar.house.gov/contact/sendmeanemail.htm
- Call (Washington D.C. office): (202) 225-1640
(New*) Texas Congressional District 35 (25): Lloyd Doggett (D)
- Email (currently) at: forms.house.gov/doggett/webforms/issue_subscribe.htm
- Call (Washington D.C. office): (202) 225-4865
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R)
- Email at: www.cornyn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=ContactForm
- Call (Washington D.C. office): (202) 224-2934
U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R)
- Email at: www.hutchison.senate.gov/?p=email_kay
- Call (Washington D.C. office): (202) 224-5922
* Doggett currently represents Congressional District 25, but in the next legislative session will represent the newly-created District 35.
If you do write your representative, please let us know how it went in the comments below; it would be good to see what kinds of responses come from each member.