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Jones, Butterfield vote against tax cut

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Walter Jones


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Pitt County’s Republican and Democratic congressmen voted against a sweeping tax overhaul on Tuesday, but for very different reasons.

Republican Rep. Walter Jones of Farmville said he cannot support legislation that adds to the national deficit, while Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield of Wilson said it’s a first step in an effort to cut programs that benefit many Americans.

Both statements were made before it was announced that parliamentary errors would force the House to take a second vote on the legislation on today. The Senate was expected to approve the package that will double the standard deduction for most tax payers Tuesday night, and President Trump would get the bill for his signature after a revote in the House today.

The House voted 227-203 to approve the measure Tuesday. Jones was one of 12 Republicans who voted against the bill, joining 191 House Democrats. Two remaining Democrats did not cast votes.

“I’m all for tax reform, but it must grow the economy, not the debt,” Jones said in a written release. “Unfortunately, the tax bill voted on today will be financed not by cutting spending elsewhere in the budget, but by adding $2 trillion to America’s debt.

“With federal debt already at $20 trillion, and deficit spending adding $666 billion to that debt just this past year alone, this is the wrong way to deliver the tax relief that the American people need,” Jones said.

Butterfield, whose 1st Congressional District extends from Durham County in the west to Gates County in the east, tweeted shortly after Tuesday’s House vote, "Today's vote was the first step toward using tax cuts for the wealthy to justify cuts to programs that benefit many Americans.”

It was then announced the Democrats found three provisions of the bill contained rule violations that needed to be removed, requiring the second vote today. Butterfield declined to elaborate on his comments until after the second vote.

Jones, whose 3rd Congressional District extends from Currituck County to Onslow County and west to Goldsboro, has long campaigned to end deficit spending and to reduce the nation’s debt.

It’s a national security issue, Jones said, because nation’s such as China hold much of the country’s debt.

“Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, has testified that the biggest threat to our national security is America’s rising debt. Our current secretary of defense, Marine Corps General James Mattis, has affirmed that principle,” Jones said. “When Admiral Mullen made his statement seven years ago, our debt was $13 trillion. It is now 50 percent larger. We’re going the wrong way fast, and unfortunately, this bill will quicken the pace.”

Jones said he also is concerned that thousands of eastern North Carolinians may pay more in taxes.

“It is estimated that 5 percent of taxpayers will pay more tax in 2018, 9 percent in 2025, and 53 percent in 2027,” he said. “That is the last thing struggling families need.”

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.