U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany
ALBANY, Ga. -- U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop has some tough words for the way Congress handled the fiscal cliff negotiations, saying Wednesday that the body must come up with a balanced approach if they want to address country's debt crisis.
The Albany Democrat, who was re-elected to another term representing Georgia's Second District in November, said that Congress must do better handling the country's major issues.
"I've been upset, discouraged and downright disgusted with the way this Congress waited until zero hour to discharge its own duties," Bishop said Wednesday. "Looking forward, however, I'm optimistic that cooler heads will prevail and that we will come together for the good of the country."
Bishop, a blue dog Democrat who signed this week a letter critical of President Barack Obama's executive order lifting the wage freeze on federal employees because it grants congressmen pay increases, said Wednesday that Congress simply doesn't deserve it.
"Let me clarify...I believe that most of the federal employees out there, our FBI agents, our USDA workers, our uniformed personnel all deserve to have their cost-of-living increases unfrozen because they've been working hard to keep the government going," Bishop said. "They're being penalized unfairly."
"I also think, however, that we ought to be punished for not discharging our duties," he said. "We should cut members of Congress out of that order and keep the wage increases for federal employees."
Congress did manage to pass a bill late Tuesday that avoided sending the nation off the so-called Fiscal Cliff.
The deal will generate $600 billion in new revenue over 10 years, less than half the amount President Barack Obama first called for. It will raise income tax rates only on the very rich, despite Obama's campaign for broader increases.
But the deal also punts the toughest decisions about spending cuts for military and domestic programs, including Medicare and Social Security. While doing nothing to mitigate the looming partisan showdown on the debt ceiling, which must rise soon to avoid default on U.S. loans.
Bishop believes that it's those negotiations that will give Congress an opportunity to right the ship with the American people and prove that they have the country's best interests at heart.
"I think we have established a very strong foundation for the discussion of pro-growth tax and entitlement reform," Bishop said. "I'm optimistic that we will come together and pass legislation that is balanced and will begin to address our spending and revenue issues."