MONTGOMERY, AL - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said today that he opposed a bill approved by Congress to avert the fiscal cliff, saying the legislation failed to address the nation's deepening debt.
“I would have voted against this agreement because I believe we need a more balanced approach that would include significant spending cuts and making the federal government more efficient, like we’re doing here in Alabama,” Bentley said.
The House and Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that averted massive tax increases and spending cuts that threatened to throw the U.S. economy into recession.
President Barack Obama said he intends to sign the bill into law in the coming days.
Bentley predicted prior to the vote that the nation was likely to go over the cliff, and that the failure to strike a deal would cost Alabama up to 24,000 jobs.
All six of Alabama's Republican representatives in Washington voted against the bill. The lone Democrat - Rep. Terri Sewell of Birmingham - voted in its favor.
Alabama's two Republican U.S. senators were split on the proposal, with Richard Shelby voting against it and Jeff Sessions voting in its favor.
Mark Kennedy, the chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, said the bill will protect Alabama working families from paying more in taxes, and blasted Republican lawmakers for voting against it.
"It is an absolute disgrace that Alabama's far-right members of Congress brought our country to the very brink of another financial crisis for political purposes and then had the nerve to not only vote against hardworking families and small businesses but also to vote for a pay raise for themselves," Kennedy said.
The bill as approved Tuesday actually postpones a pay raise for members of Congress.
President Barack Obama last week signed an executive order that would provide members of Congress and federal workers a pay increase in the early part of this year. The order called for salaries for rank-and-file senators and representatives to rise from $174,000 a year to $174,900 a year.
The fiscal cliff legislation included a provision barring any cost of living increase for members of Congress, at least through September, the end of the fiscal year.