As if the explanation matters, Rep. Bill Johnson shares why he voted “yes” on fiscal cliff bill

Congressman Bill Johnson of Ohio

Congressman Bill Johnson of Ohio

In an email to his constituents, Congressman Bill Johnson of Ohio explained why he voted for the fiscal cliff.

As many Congressmen and Senators have explained, he did so because he thought that “going over the edge would have had terrible consequences.”

But, when a Representative does not listen to his or her constituents – especially within the conservative movement – does the explanation really mater? At least he did take the time to explain his vote; however, we also need to get away from Congressmen and Senators having to explain a vote that is in disagreement with the desires of their constituents  Perhaps voting “yes” was what Johnson’s constituents wanted, but there are many who voted “yes” despite out-cries from their constituents asking them to vote “no.”


Today marks the start of the 113th Congress.  As we look to the work ahead, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the “fiscal cliff.”

On Tuesday night I reluctantly voted for legislation to help America avoid the fiscal cliff. I did so with a heavy heart, but I believe it was the correct choice. Because you’re a supporter of mine, you deserve to know why I voted “yes”.

The fiscal cliff was very real, and going over the edge would have had terrible consequences for all hardworking taxpayers, particularly those here in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio. We managed to permanently cut taxes on 99 percent of the American people, and protect the majority of the small family businesses and farms that the estate tax would have otherwise hit. The measure also ensures that doctors will continue to be reimbursed through Medicare for treating seniors, protects some 33 million more Americans from getting hit with the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), and it avoided a doubling of milk prices in the grocery store by extending the Farm Bill. Also, the legislation prevented the predicted chaos in the stock market that would have further harmed the retirement savings of so many hard-working families had we gone over the fiscal cliff.

I did not support the measure because I liked it. In fact, I am deeply disappointed in the manner in which this deal came together, but I decided to vote for what was in the bill rather than to oppose it for what was not included. The President and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in my view, did not negotiate with the House in good faith. The House passed legislation months ago that would have protected every taxpayer and provided the necessary spending cuts that would have prevented the fiscal cliff. That legislation was never even debated in the Senate. Elections have consequences, and right now the Democrats have a much stronger hand than do Republicans who, as you know, only control one-half of one-third of the government.

When I decided to run for Congress in 2010, I did so after serving 26 years in the Air Force and running successful small businesses. I decided to leave the private sector and serve in Congress out of deep concerns for the future of our country and the futures of my children and grandchildren. My concerns have not waned, and my commitment to fight for lower taxes and lower spending remains as strong as ever. The prosperity of future generations depends on returning America to firm financial footing and getting the economy moving again.

I understand that these issues are contentious and that many people are upset. You should know that I’ll always share my reasons with you and I always urge and welcome your input. You can email, call or connect via social media so that I can hear from you.

Thank you,

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