In statements released after the vote, both Griffith and Roe indicated federal spending was not addressed in the Senate-passed measure that came to House lawmakers.
Griffith, R-Va., said: "Reasonable people can disagree whether or not to support this Senate compromise. In fairness to those that voted yes, there are some good things in the bill. However, increasing spending for programs and paying for a two-month delay of sequestration in part with new ‘revenues’ were items that I could not support...Passing a bill that raises revenues with only minor cuts is not a balanced approach, and is an approach that adds to the debt our children and grandchildren will be responsible for paying back."
Roe, R-Tenn., noted: "Washington cannot continue to tax, borrow and spend. When these negotiations began, the president promised a balanced approach, and that’s not what this legislation is. We must get our deficit under control, and the only way to do that is to cut spending.
"While I am glad to see hardworking Americans will get much-needed permanent tax relief, I could not, in good faith, support legislation that does not address our spending problem."
The deal will increase tax rates for families with income above $450,000 and individuals above $400,000; set the estate tax at 40 percent for those at the $450,000/$400,000 threshold, with a $5 million exemption; delay automatic spending cuts for two months; reimpose a pay freeze on members of Congress; avoid a tax increase on the middle class; extend federal unemployment insurance for another year; and avoid scheduled cuts to physicians who serve Medicare patients.
The measure passed in the House by a 257-167 vote and is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama.