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Congressman-Elect Eric Swalwell Wants Fiscal Cliff Conudrum Solved — Now!

Swalwell, who will be the new congressman for the 15th Congressional District, says going over the fiscal cliff could have terrible consequences for an already fragile economy.

Eric Swalwell hasn't even gotten the keys yet to his new Congressional office and just recently found a room to call home while in Washington.

But when he is officially sworn in on Jan. 3 to represent California's 15th Congressional District, the 32-year-old Democrat and the rest of the new Congress might be forced to quickly find a solution to something that has left the current Congress in a quagmire — the fiscal cliff.

One of Swalwell's most influential constituents, his mother, has given the congressman-elect an earful over the holidays on the importance of not going over the fiscal cliff.

"My mom has never made over $100,000 in her life," Swalwell said. "She calculated how much she will owe if we go over the fiscal cliff and it's about $3,000. I know if it's going to hit her, it's going to hit a lot of middle-class families in the district."

Swalwell, who won his seat by defeating 20-term Congressman Pete Stark in November, says he hopes the current Congress and the President can come to an agreement by the end of the year. If not, Swalwell said the consequences of falling over the cliff could have dire consequences for his district and the country.

What makes Jan. 1, 2013 financially important to almost every American, and why the phrase "fiscal cliff" has been uttered way too many times this holiday season, is because that's the day the Bush tax cuts expire.

The tax cuts, first implemented in 2001 and extended for two years in 2010, lowered the marginal tax rates for all tax brackets. On the first day of 2013, the tax cuts expire and everyone's marginal tax rate goes back to the pre-Bush levels.

Along with the marginal tax raise, if no deal in Washington is met by the end of the year, the payroll tax will immediately increase by 2 percent. On top of $500 billion tax increase, there will be broad spending cuts — impacting everything from defense spending to unemployment insurance — totaling about $200 billion.

The fiscal cliff in one sentence, as described by The Washington Post's Wonkblog, is, "Much too much austerity, much too quickly." If no agreement is made, the Congressional Budget Office projects that the U.S. economy will go back into recession and the unemployment rate will rise to 9.1 percent (it's currently at 7.7 percent) by the end of 2013.

Swalwell said he backs President Barack Obama's solution to the fiscal cliff conundrum. He would like the tax cuts to become permanent for everyone making less than $250,000, but for the rates to rise for everyone making more. Republicans would like to the Bush tax cuts to become permanent for all incomes.

"Congress needs to, right now, keep tax rates where they are for 98 percent of Americans," Swalwell said. "Asking the wealthiest 2 percent to pay their fair share seems reasonable."

With the clock ticking, Swalwell believes there isn't time to tackle the long-term fiscal problems facing the country, like Social Security and Medicare spending. For the time being, Republicans and Democrats should focus on not raising taxes on middle-class families but rather on trying to solve the big issues during the 113th Congress, Swalwell said.

"I'm optimistic that the cry of the American people to avoid the fiscal cliff will be heard," Swalwell said.

If those cries go unanswered, the new Congress will have try and remedy the situation before there is too much economic damage.

That's a distinct possibility. House Speaker John Boehner said he's waiting for the Senate to pass a bill before he will call Congress back into session, Politico reported Wednesday.

It will take two days for congressional representatives to return to Washington.

There are four days before the country goes cliff-diving.

Do you think Congress and the President will come to an agreement before we go over the fiscal cliff? What do you think will be a fair compromise? Tell us in the comments section.

Edward December 30, 2012 at 07:13 PM
I meant 2014 to run against Swalwell. It will also be interesting if his voting record will get the ACDCC to endorse him in 2014.
Edward December 30, 2012 at 07:23 PM
To extend Unemployment the Republicans want to Cut Social Security to your MOM Mr. Swalwell. A bitter pill for all Seniors from the Republicans so their rich buddies can keep more and your out of work neighbors are not thrown under the Republican Stone Wall Bus. Would you compromise Seniors just to get a Grand Bargain?
Mark December 31, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Edward, you said "...his Retirement should have been his choice, not the Republicans of Alameda County..." REALLY? I thought it was the voter's choice to retire politicians? But be that as it may, you implicitly are saying (and I agree) that is Stark ran against a REP - that he would have won. The implication is that Swalwell pulled a lot of DEM votes, specifically those DEMs who were not as "...hard line liberal..." as was Stark. The AC central committee should have figured that out... It is common knowledge that that is what happens with open primaries. This is not an argument AGAINST Stark as much as it is for the need for the party leaders to better understand the dynamics of the election they are in, including the reality that it is an open primary and redistributing left Stark with a district decidedly less aligned with his views. So in 2014, if you don't like Swalwell, fine...but don't run another far left lunatic against him - the playing field will be the same and so will the results
Edward December 31, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Well said, Mark. We will see what his voting record is and how he lines up with other Bay Area Democrats and in 12 months, we will see if he fits the 15th district demographics and political needs.
Edward December 31, 2012 at 11:04 PM
In the Democratic primary, Congressman elect Swalwell had only a little more than 1/3 the Democrats vote compared to Congressman Pete Stark. Democrats wanted Pete Stark. Swalwell unseated a 40 year seniority Congressman only by using this open primary and top two vote getter run off General Election to garner Republican votes. It is a shame that Pete Stark had not chosen to retire and not run in 2012. Then it would have been a "clean win" Democrat against Republican in the new 15th District that has a larger Republican electorate than the previouse 13th District Pete Stark Represented. He could be another 20 term Democrat if he does not step on those toes that traditionally elect Democrats in the Bay Area.

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