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January 2nd, 2013
10:18 AM ET

Rep. Israel: 'When it comes to aid to NY & NJ, the House Republican leadership decided we weren't worth it'

Late last night, the House of Representatives passed the Senate's fiscal cliff bill by a margin of 257 to 157.

The deal prevents tax hikes for couples earning less than $450 thousand a year and caps itemized deductions for couples making over $300 thousand a year. It also extends unemployment benefits for 2 million Americans and permanently adjusts the alternative minimum tax for inflation.

Rep. Steve Israel voted in favor of the bill despite the fact that he "would have liked to see more deficit reduction," and he joins Starting Point this morning to discuss his decision.

"At the end of the day, House Democrats injected some adult supervision, some pragmatism and solutions. That's what the country wants. I voted for it because falling off the cliff isn't an option," Rep. Israel says. "I wished the Republicans produced more votes... They have the majority in the House of Representatives, and it was House Democrats who stopped us from going off the cliff."

The New York Democrat also responds to the fact that the House failed to address legislation to fund Hurricane Sandy relief, calling the move "indefensible."

"Just when we avoided one cliff, the House Republicans threw us over another," Rep. Israel says. "We rushed aid to Kabul and Baghdad when they had damage, but when it comes to aid to New York and New Jersey, the House Republican leadership decided we weren't worth it."

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