GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Though the US House voted on legislation to avert the impact of the so-called fiscal cliff, Republican leaders said earlier Tuesday the legislation isn't good enough -- and West Michigan legislators agreed.
Tuesday night, the House passed the same bill passed overwhelmingly by the US Senate.
But it appears many Republicans remained skeptical of the bill.
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) told 24 Hour News 8 via phone live during the 11 p.m. newscast that he voted against the legislation not because of the tax relief, which he called "commendable," but because of the lack of spending cuts.
"It was bad choice versus really bad choice," he said.
He said the worst choice was the bill that the Senate passed in the early hours of Tuesday. He said it "perpetuates this spending problem that we have and it puts off any of those decisions to get our revenues and our expenditures in line."
He said the policy changes will have to be made.
"This is something that the rating agencies have threatened us in the past, is that if we do not get our spending uncontrolled, they will look at downgrading our debt," Huizenga added. "We know that what's happening is unsustainable."
He also noted that GOP leadership was split on the legislation.
Huizenga told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday evening that the math of the legislation simply doesn't work out and that it allows too large of a deficit.
"At the end of the day, we are looking at $330 billion in new spending," Huizenga said over the phone from Washington, where he stepped out of a GOP meeting to speak with 24 Hour News 8.
"This will be our fifth straight year of trillion-dollar deficits," he continued. "We can't suspend the laws of mathematics. We have got to stop doing business this way in Washington, D.C. Where we're going to end up spending more, adding more to the deficit more, and then somehow calling it a victory."
Huizenga also expressed frustration at Senate leaders' assertions that they would not take up a version of the bill revised by the House.
"It's so classic. These guys take their ball and want to go home when they don't get their own way every time," he said.
But in the end, it appears, the Senate's stalwart attitude paid off. Republican leaders were forced to back off demands for more spending cuts and the House voted Tuesday night.
Huizenga released the following statement after voting against the Senate's fiscal cliff proposal, which passed by 90 votes.
"While the measure includes some commendable permanent tax relief provisions, overall this legislation further delays a serious attempt to solve our growing spending and debt crisis. For too long we have seen Washington play out its own version of the classic 'Peanuts' cartoon where Lucy promises Charlie Brown she won't pull the football away, yet she does every time. President Obama and Senate Democrats continue to promise to deliver serious spending cuts, but the cuts never come. It is time for my colleagues in Washington to realize that adding more to the deficit and then somehow calling it a victory is not what America needs."
==Watch both full live interviews with Rep. Huizenga above.==
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Grand Rapids) Tuesday expressed his dissatisfaction with the bill passed by the Senate on
his Twitter account, calling it "unacceptable" and "pathetic."
"Senate gave middle finger to everyone in America," he tweeted around 9 a.m. "You want lower taxes & less spending? Tough. You're getting higher taxes & more spending."
24 Hour News 8 asked why he said that when the bill maintains tax cuts for about 98% of Americans, leaving only those making more than $400,000 a year with a tax increase for the first time in the last two decades.
"The tax side is not the problem with the bill," Amash explained to 24 Hour News 8 over the phone Tuesday evening. "The problem is the spending side. You can't have a bill that increases spending by hundreds of billions of dollars and be serious."
Amash said he supports all tax cuts, but thinks the focus needs to be on the nation's more than $16 trillion in debt.
"Pathetic that after all our country's been through, our Congress can't act responsibly & cut spending. If not now, then when?" he tweeted.
"It's unacceptable and immoral to keep passing this burden on to the next generation our children and grandchildren, who are going to have to deal with it. They are going to have a lower standard of living if they don't deal with it now," Amash said on the phone.
Amash said he thinks the fiscal cliff situation should have been solved handling taxes and spending separately. He also said they shouldn't have been rushed -- even if tax cuts wouldn't have been decided until February.
Amash also voted against the legislation.
“The federal government’s refusal to live within its means is immoral. I cannot in good conscience support burdening our children and grandchildren with another $50 billion of debt,” Amash said in a statement after the vote. “The spending binge must be stopped before it does permanent damage to our country’s future. And if the President and Congress aren’t willing to stop the reckless spending now, when we already have $16 trillion of debt, Americans are given little confidence that their so-called leaders ever will stop it.”
Michigan's Democratic senators were not available for comment Tuesday.
Michigan is governed as a republic, with three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The state also allows direct participation of the electorate by initiative, referendum, recall, and ratification.