A majority of hands went up when District 7 U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall asked a breakfast gathering of Republicans on Saturday how many of them were willing to pay higher taxes and go over the so-called fiscal cliff.
“Who’d have thought it’d be Forsyth County Republicans that would raise their hands to say, ‘Let’s have the largest tax increase in history,’” Woodall said.
“You’re just dealing with the principle. If your principle is just taxation, you’d never end up with that. If your principle is saving the land of opportunity, maybe you do.”
Woodall, a Republican from Lawrenceville whose district includes the lower half of Forsyth, addressed a joint meeting of the Forsyth County Republican Party and Republican Women of Forsyth County at a Cumming restaurant.
GOP Chairman Ethan Underwood said they invited him to speak primarily on the recent vote regarding the fiscal cliff, as Woodall was the only current local representative in the House at the time of the Jan. 1 vote on a deal to avert the automatic combination of tax increases and spending cuts.
On the deal that passed, Woodall cast a ‘no’ vote along with about two thirds of House Republicans.
Though Republicans hold a majority in the chamber by 17 representatives, Woodall said enough GOP members agreed with the fiscal cliff proposal to end the battle.
“We knew there was a cave coming,” he said. “We cannot expect those 17 Republicans who have given up a Republican majority to vote like we would vote in the 7thDistrict of Georgia. They couldn’t get elected if they voted like we vote [in this district]… They don’t believe what we believe.”
The lesson that came from the fiscal cliff debate, Woodall said, is that House Speaker John Boehner plans to bring future issues to the floor instead of going “toe to toe” with the president.
The next big vote, he said, will be on the issue of the debt ceiling, in which he hopes Republicans will hold the president to his promise of spending cuts to accompany the tax increases.
Woodall said the strategy is to let the U.S. Senate take the lead because otherwise the body won’t move to a vote.
He would support a two- or three-month extension to raise the debt ceiling, and then revisit the issue at budget time in April.
“If we fail to raise the debt ceiling in the third week of February, we’re going to lose those 17 Republicans,” he said.
That extension likely will come attached with an amendment that Congress won’t get paid until it passes a budget, said Woodall, eliciting applause from the group.
The financial future of America is at stake, and this is the time to take a stand, according to Woodall.
“We don’t have many arrows in the quiver, and this debt ceiling arrow is the biggest one we have,” he said. “There is a heartfelt feeling that the end of America is upon us.
“If the true debt ceiling, which is when our creditors will no longer lend us money, is coming, if the inflationary death spiral is coming, it’s OK to pull that catastrophic arrow out of the quiver.”