Congressman Adrian Smith says the lame-duck session of Congress cannot address the nation’s real financial issues.
Smith says the best that can be done in the next month is outline broad agreements to be worked out by the new Congress which convenes in January.
“Because, we have such complex and convoluted tax policy; that’s why I argue that it’s broken,” Smith tells reporters in a conference call. “The complexity of our tax policy is what is leading people and entities to say, hey, let’s simplify that, because the cost of compliance has gotten so high.”
Smith says tax reform must be a part of any resolution to the budget fight in Washington.
Smith, a Republican, criticizes President Obama, a Democrat, for not actively engaging in negotiations to avoid the so-called economic “fiscal cliff”.
“So far, we have not gotten any sort of indication from the president of where he would be willing to look at cuts,” according to Smith “It just hasn’t happened.”
The president has left Washington for a series of campaign-style meetings aimed at putting public pressure on Congress to compromise on extending the Bush-era tax cuts and heading off deep, automatic budget cuts. Some economists claim that allowing the tax cuts to expire and the budget cuts to go into effect will drive the fragile economy over a cliff.
Democrats simply haven’t stepped forward during negotiations, according to Smith.
“The House has put forth a plan and we’re anxious to hear from the president and Congressional Democrats to tell the American people what spending cuts they are willing to make,” Smith says. “I think it’s very important that we reflect on the fact that the president has said that he wants a balanced approach and yet we have yet to hear cuts that the president would support.”
The president has proposed extending the Bush-era tax cuts only for those making less than $250,000. The president has not outlined what budget cuts he would support.
AUDIO: Brent Martin talks with Congressman Adrian Smith on expectations from lame-duck session. [3:30]