Tennessee lawmakers discuss stalled negotiations on fiscal cliff

Tennessee lawmakers discuss stalled negotiations on fiscal cliff (Image 1)

A rare Sunday session of the House has been called as Congress tries to reach a deal on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff.

Nashville's News 2 reached out to Tennessee representatives as they prepare to head back to Washington to find out if a deal will be reached before the January 1 deadline.

Representative Scott DesJarlais (R, TN District 4) said he is hopeful Congress will reach a compromise before the deadline, but added it is looking less and less likely.

“Nothing has been offered to deal with our nation's uncontrollable deficit spending. Rather, all we have seen is a back and forth blame game,” DesJarlais said.

Nashville's News 2 asked Representative DesJarlais what has to happen to get his vote.

“From the beginning I have said I am willing to look at any serious proposal. At the very least I expect a plan that prevents our nation from accruing any further debt. Ideally, I would like to see a bold, comprehensive bill that includes reforms to our tax code, entitlement programs and spending,” Representative DesJarlais said Thursday.

Representative Jim Cooper (D, TN District 5) had harsh words for Congress.

“Every day we wait costs us another $11 billion, or almost more than the problems we are trying to fix. This is the most predictable and preventable crisis in U.S. history. Congress is being lazy and cowardly by not fixing it,” Representative Cooper said Friday.

Representative Cooper says both sides deserve blame. “Congress is bickering instead of problem solving because Democrats and Republicans are afraid to offend their hard-core supporters by cutting government spending or raising taxes on the rich,” Representative Cooper said.

Representatives Cooper and DesJarlais are hearing similar frustrations from their constituents.

“They are incredibly frustrated by the fact that they can balance their budgets and live within their means but their government consistently disregards the limits on how much it can spend and squanders hard earned taxpayer dollars,” DesJarlais said.

Representative Cooper echoed that sentiment. “What I am hearing from Tennesseans is anger and disgust. They want the Democratic Senate and Republican House to keep our economy growing while reducing our budget deficits.”

Representative Diane Black (R, TN District 6) released this statement to Nashville's News 2: 

“I will continue to do everything in my power to
avert the fiscal cliff. My priority is protecting the middle class and small
businesses from the largest tax increase in U.S. history and helping to get
America back on a fiscally sustainable and prosperous path through spending
cuts and entitlement reform.”

Nashville's News 2 also reached out to Representative Marsha Blackburn (R, TN District 7) and Representative Stephen Fincher (R, TN District 8) but received no comment.

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