Congressmen Ami Bera, David Cicilline, Rodney Davis and Adam Kinzinger talk problem solving.
TAXES INCREASING: $3,500 a year: that's how much more the average American family will pay in taxes if we fall off the fiscal cliff in January. And a full 90 percent of Americans would see their taxes go up. NPR reports that the combination of these tax increases and automatic spending cuts coming in January would be disastrous for the country: “Economists are virtually unanimous in saying that unless Congress changes course before Dec. 31, the country will be driven over an economic "cliff" and into a new recession." While our economy hangs in the balance, elected officials are away from Washington campaigning: Marilyn Geewax for NPR: Report: If Congress Ignores 'Fiscal Cliff,' Most American Will Pay More Taxes
AVOID THE CLIFF: Senators are working together to avoid falling of the fiscal cliff at the end of the year. While they disagree on the details of a plan at this point, both sides of the aisle agree that they need to do something to prevent the automatic across-the-board cuts and tax increases. Both sides, though, are waiting to act until after the election, when they hope to have more leverage in Congress and the White House: Jonathan Weisman for The New York Times: Leaders at Work on Plan to Avert Mandatory Cuts
WITHOUT A FARM BILL: Congress went home without passing a farm bill -- so what happens next? 1. The country reverts to the 1949 farm bill, which was the last permanent bill passed. 2. Nothing happens to food stamps or farm subsidies in the spring, thanks to a continuing resolution and the fact that now isn't planting season. 3. Conservation programs, which help farmers with things like soil erosion and irrigation, will lapse. 4. Milk prices will skyrocket on Jan. 1. 5. And lastly, the lack of a farm bill is a major political tool in close races this election season: Brad Plumer for The Washington Post: Congress just let the farm bill expire. It's not the end of the world...yet
IT'S ALL PARTISAN: Voters increasingly lament the Washington gridlock, but Alan Greenblatt of NPR suggests that voters are part of the problem. Everything is becoming more divided along party lines -- from who you marry to what beer you choose. People are much more likely to get their news from partisan sources, and shut out ideas from the other side. That's why No Labels is so important -- regardless of party, we need our leaders to come together to solve the real problems facing our nation: Alan Greenblatt for NPR: Voters Angry at Washington Gridlock May Want To Look In The Mirror
CITIZEN'S THOUGHTS: This election cycle is bringing out the worst in our leaders, who are playing to the party base instead of working to solve problems. No Labels, though, offers a clear solution with its plan to Make Congress Work! Kevin Coomer writes for his blog: "Others are calling for similar responsibility, but no one has proposed a comprehensive change to the process, and none have been able to secure 78 sponsors to "No Budget, No Pay" in the House of Representatives and 12 in the Senate." Kevin Coomer for Inaction in Politics: The No Labels Solution on Process and Discussion of the Immediate Crises in Congress
FROM THE FIELD: Citizen Leaders Ron & Debbie Tobias signed up 260 new members to No Labels this weekend at the Armonk Art Show in New York.
THE DAILY BREAK: Seth MacFarlane, comedian of Family Guy fame, has been named host of the Oscars. Check out the pros and cons here.
ACTION OF THE DAY: Click here to sign the petition to tell Congress to work five days a week, three weeks a month.
STAT OF THE DAY: The fiscal cliff on Jan. 1 is scheduled to add an average of 5 percent to people's tax rates. The bottom 20 percent would see an increase of 3.7 percentage points, while the top 1 percent would see an increase 7.2 percentage points: Suzy Khimm for The Washington Post: The fiscal cliff is…progressive?