St. Petersburg, Florida -- While the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 passed to avoid the "fiscal cliff," a majority of Florida's representatives voted against the bill. Legislators also didn't vote along party lines.
Check here to see how the state's U.S. Representatives voted.
Check here to see how the state's U.S. Senators voted.
Below are the complete statements Bay area legislators, as well as Senators Rubio and Nelson issued following the vote.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's statement:
"It was something we had to do to keep the country from going over the fiscal cliff and to prevent income taxes from going up for more than 95 percent of folks. Now we've got to finish the job of fixing our country's financial ills with more targeted spending cuts and reforming our tax code."
U.S. Sen. Marco Rudio's statement:
SENATOR RUBIO'S STATEMENT ON FISCAL CLIFF VOTE
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today issued the following statement after voting against the so-called deal to avert the fiscal cliff by imposing job-killing taxes and failing to solve America's long term debt problem:
"I appreciate all the hard word that went into avoiding the so-called 'fiscal cliff'. I especially commend Senator McConnell's efforts to make the best out of a bad situation. Nevertheless, I cannot support the arrangement they have arrived at. Rapid economic growth and spending reforms are the only way out of the real fiscal cliff our nation is facing. But rapid economic growth and job creation will be made more difficult under the deal reached here in Washington.
"Thousands of small businesses, not just the wealthy, will now be forced to decide how they'll pay this new tax and, chances are, they'll do it by firing employees, cutting back their hours and benefits, or postponing the new hire they were looking to make. And to make matters worse, it does nothing to bring our dangerous debt under control.
"Of course, many Americans will be relieved in the short term that their taxes won't go up. However in the long run, they will be hurt when employers pass on to them one of the largest tax hikes in decades. Furthermore, this deal just postpones the inevitable, the need to solve our growing debt crisis and help the 23 million Americans who can't find the work they need."
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's statement:
Buchanan Votes for Lower Taxes
Permanently Protects Middle-Class Americans from the Alternative Minimum Tax
Includes "Doc Fix" to ensure Medicare for seniors
WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, today voted for the largest tax cut in U.S. history, permanently shielding 99.3 percent of Americans from crippling tax hikes. The "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012" passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 257-167.
"With a $16.3 trillion national debt and 7.7 percent unemployment, the last thing we need is a massive tax increase on hard-working Americans," said Buchanan. "However, moving forward, both parties must immediately address Washington's reckless pattern of borrowing and spending that has put our country on a road to bankruptcy."
Also included in the House-passed legislation is a provision to prevent a 27 percent reduction in reimbursement rates for physicians who treat senior citizens on Medicare.
"Senior citizens rely on Medicare to see their doctors," said Buchanan, who serves on the influential Health Subcommittee of the Ways & Means Committee. "If these cuts were to go into place, many doctors in our area have told me they would simply be forced to close their doors. This bill helps to ensure that their doors remain open and that our seniors continue to receive the quality health care they deserve."
The American Taxpayer Relief Act also includes a permanent patch of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), protecting millions of middle-class families from unintended tax increases. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said in a letter to the House Ways & Means Committee that 100 million taxpayers would have been hit with delayed returns had the AMT not been patched.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act was passed by the Senate 89-8 and now awaits the President's signature.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's statement:
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor voted to keep taxes low for middle-class families and boost economic growth in America. As part of the bill, she voted to reject a pay raise for members of Congress.
"Middle-class families throughout the Tampa Bay area and the entire nation are shielded from harsh tax increases. Instead, greater tax fairness is the hallmark of the bipartisan compromise," Castor said. "My neighbors in Tampa Bay are focused on jobs, their mortgages, and sending their kids to college. The extension of meaningful tax credits for families and the cost of attending college are very positive."
"Policymakers should continue to work in a balanced way to create economic growth and solve our debt challenges. A balanced plan allows us to invest in America and its infrastructure, education and research centers. Such a path would keep our local Tampa Bay area economy strong and create jobs in our community."
Castor also rejected a pay hike for members of Congress.
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis' statement:
"While I appreciate the effort put into avoiding the 'fiscal cliff,' last night I voted against H.R. 8, because the legislation did not include the spending reforms our country desperately needs to get on a path to fiscal responsibility and economic prosperity. Although I am pleased income tax rates were cut for middle class families and 98 percent of Americans, out-of-control government spending and crippling debt will harm the solvency of our country, leave us unable to fulfill critical obligations, and places a heavier burden on our children and grandchildren."
U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young's statement:
Statement by Representative C.W. Bill Young on the passage of H.R. 8,
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
January 2, 2013
"By approving this legislation, we avoided a pending fiscal cliff that would have raised federal income taxes on millions of American families and small businesses. First and foremost, we made permanent almost all of the tax cuts first signed into law 12 years ago by President George W. Bush and the Republican Congress. We permanently fixed the Alternative Minimum Tax, which threatened to annually raise taxes on millions of middle income families.
"For America's seniors, we provide a one-year remedy to ensure that doctors who provide care through the Medicare program do not see their reimbursement for services reduced by 27 percent. That would have forced many doctors from the Medicare program and left seniors the difficult task of finding new medical providers.
"Additionally, this measure temporarily delays the across-the-board sequestration that would harm our national defense.
"This is a less than perfect solution, the result of a less than perfect situation in which we find ourselves, but we were able to do many good things. While we were not able to get the real spending cuts that we hoped would have been included, this measure does not include the hundreds of billions in new stimulus spending initially demanded by President Obama. It also does not include President Obama's request for an unpaid two-year increase in the debt ceiling.
"The House had approved multiple pieces of legislation in May, August, and December to prevent the fiscal cliff. Unfortunately, our colleagues in the Senate waited until the morning of January 1st to follow regular order and send legislation to the House to prevent sequestration or avert the looming tax increases.
"However, in waiting until the last minute to agree on a deal on taxes, the President and the Congress have created a series of new fiscal cliffs that could once again threaten our economic well-being if we do not act together to address them. One cliff will occur less than two months from now when our nation reaches the statutory debt limit. A second cliff will occur a few days later when the temporary delay in the across-the-board cuts to our national defense occur on March 1. And we will have a third fiscal cliff when the six-month continuing appropriations bill that we passed last September to avoid a federal government shutdown expires on March 27.
"I am pleased that we have come to an agreement on taxes so now we can move on to the real problem facing our economy: the federal government spends too much.
"First, we must begin to match our spending to the compromise level of revenue. For too long we have spent more than we bring in, bringing us to our $16.4 trillion national debt. We need to work together to reform the mandatory spending programs that make up 65 percent of our budget, but do not get Congressional review each year. Only by reducing our excessive spending can we begin to balance our budget.
"Next, we must fix our tax code through comprehensive reform that brings in the same revenues as the compromise agreement. The federal tax code is far too complicated and unnecessarily complex. It is riddled with countless loopholes, deductions, credits, and exemptions that distort the market and often only benefit a small number of special interests. Comprehensive tax reform will make the code fairer, simpler, and ensure everyone pays what they should owe.
"Finally, we need to finish our work on our annual appropriations bills. My colleagues and I on the Appropriations Committee completed our work on individual bills to fund, in a fiscally responsible way, our national security and other federal agencies for Fiscal Year 2013. However, because the Senate failed to consider even one regular appropriations bill, we have been blocked from bringing our legislation before the House for final agreement.
"There is no denying that these are all difficult decisions, but the American people elect us to work together and cast tough votes. We have done that in the House over the past two years, but we cannot reach final agreements on anything unless the Senate acts on House legislation and either agrees and passes it on to the President, or amends it and sends it back to the House for reconsideration. This week, the Senate finally followed the regular order as outlined in the Constitution, amended House-passed legislation, and sent it back to the House for consideration. It is my hope that this becomes the rule rather than the exception as we convene the 113th Congress and begin to work on our next set of economic challenges."