Lawmakers, protestors frustrated as 'fiscal cliff' looms - WSMV Channel 4

Lawmakers, protestors frustrated as 'fiscal cliff' looms

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There isn't much time left before the country plunges over the "fiscal cliff" and that's making a lot of people nervous.

Time is running out for a deal and people around Middle Tennessee are getting frustrated and worried about the looming tax increases. It's a frustration shared by some of those who are right in the middle of it all.

A group of protestors went to Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn's office in Franklin in hopes of encouraging her to extend the Bush tax cuts for those making under $250,000 per year.

"We don't need millionaire tax breaks," said Bob Washko, one of the protestors. "We need to get a balanced budget and that's going to start with revenue."

"We don't make our hiring decisions based on the tax bracket," said Earik Beann, a small business owner. "We make our hiring decisions based on whether we have customers."

Congressman Jim Cooper thought he would be on a plane back to Washington this morning. Instead he's in Nashville waiting for that phone call back to the nation's capitol.

"It's not only frustrating, it's maddening," said Cooper, who represents Tennessee's 5th Congressional District. "The United States is better than this. Congress should not be so lazy and so cowardly."

Should a deal not be worked out by New Year's Day, it will trigger a combination of large tax increases and huge cuts.

Those cuts could cause Metro schools to lose millions for programs, thousands of unemployed to lose their benefits and cuts to other programs such as those that help the homeless.

"All aspects of life that involve the government will face impact and changes," said Cooper.

Cooper said he's particularly concerned about some defense cuts.

"I absolutely have concerns because this automatic cutting machine called sequestration probably will have the biggest impact on a place like Fort Campbell," said Cooper.

The House will go back into session on Sunday.

While there hasn't been much action, there is a lot of finger pointing.

Blackburn was unable to speak with Channel 4 News today, but she sent a statement on the impending fiscal cliff, placing the blame on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

She said leaders make choices and Reid's choice has been to do nothing.

If Congress doesn't reach a deal, the fiscal cliff will impact almost every person in America.

The Tax Policy Center projects that middle class families would pay almost $2,000 in extra taxes.

The pinch comes from two different tax cuts that are expiring.

The so-called Bush-era tax cuts are ending and a temporary cut to Social Security taxes is also going away.

In all, Americans will have to pay an extra $0.5 trillion in taxes next year.

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