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Manchin introduces temporary fiscal cliff solution

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U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., offered legislation to alleviate some of the immediate effects of the so-called "fiscal cliff," while also "providing a path forward to a long-term solution."

 

Manchin introduced the "Cliff Alleviation at the Last Minute," or CALM Act, with less than 36 hours to go before the massive tax hikes and deep spending cuts from the cliff start to take effect.

 

"If we're determined to go over the cliff, we've got to do something to soften the landing, because at the bottom of the fiscal cliff are immediate and massive tax increases, deep and indiscriminate spending cuts, and the risk of another recession," Manchin said in a floor speech to introduce the legislation. "So as we come down to the final hours, we have two choices – to do nothing and cause an unbelievable amount of hardship for our fellow Americans or to do something to reduce the suffering inflicted on our citizens by an inflexible political system. I choose to do something."

The measure would phase in the tax hikes over the next three years, instead allowing all of them to hit immediately. The bill would also allow the Office of Management and Budget to prioritize which programs will be cut, rather than apply an across-the-board cut.

The bill would also encourage Congress and the President to reach the "big fix" that economists have called for to "put the nation's fiscal house back in order."

"This bill, the CALM ACT, is not something that I am excited about or proud to offer," Manchin said. "This is not a great plan, merely a better plan than going over the cliff.  It should never have come to this."