Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, explains why he voted in favor of the "fiscal cliff" deal last night in the House of Representatives:
“We’ll never get our debt under control unless we tackle its main drivers: too little economic growth and too much spending. Without presidential leadership, it will be difficult to forge bipartisan solutions to our debt and economic challenges.
“Today, I joined my colleagues in the House to protect as many Americans as possible from a tax increase. We also provided certainty by making the lower tax rates permanent. The House has already passed legislation to prevent tax increases for every American family, and it is unfortunate that President Obama insisted on taking more from hardworking taxpayers. Despite my concerns with other provisions in the bill, I commend my colleagues for limiting the damage as much as possible.
“The American people chose divided government. As elected officials, we have a duty to apply our principles to the realities of governing. And we must exercise prudence. We must weigh the benefits and the costs of action—and of inaction. In H.R. 8, there are clearly provisions that I oppose. But the question remains: Will the American people be better off if this law passes relative to the alternative? In the final analysis, the answer is undoubtedly yes. I came to Congress to make tough decisions—not to run away from them.
“Now, we must return our attention to the real problem: out-of-control spending. Washington’s reckless spending drives the debt. And this debt is hurting the economy today. Unless we get at the heart of the problem, Americans will face a debt crisis—one that will threaten our most vulnerable in particular. It is our responsibility to prevent such a crisis.”