McKinley: ‘No’ was correct vote

WHEELING – U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley said he will cast his vote today for John Boehner to remain House speaker, even though he didn’t support Boehner’s measure this week to keep the nation from going over the “fiscal cliff.”

McKinley, R-Wheeling, expects Boehner, R-Ohio, will be easily re-elected when members of the 113th Congress take office today.

“He is the third in line for the presidency, and he doesn’t take this job lightly,” McKinley said. “And we have to be respectful of the pressures he was under. Am I happy with him? No. I’m not going to list all my concerns – that’s between John and me, and we’ve had our discussions about it. This is a time we don’t need to see this country seeing confusion in the political process by throwing out the speaker.”

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-Charleston, also said she will vote for Boehner as speaker today. The office of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, did not immediately respond to messages asking whether Johnson supports Boehner.

McKinley was among 151 House Republicans voting against the “fiscal cliff” deal crafted in the Senate. The measure passed the House late Tuesday with a vote of 257-167. Capito also voted “no” on the measure, while Johnson voted in favor of the bill.

McKinley said the bill didn’t go far enough to curb federal spending. But House members realized the Senate wouldn’t approve any changes they made, and the country needed the tax relief, he added.

McKinley acknowledged he would have been willing to break with the 20-year pledge of Republicans and vote to raise taxes if the move represented a “balanced approach that would seriously reduce spending.”

“When it is $41 in new revenue to $1 in spending cuts – that’s not balanced,” McKinley said. “There is nothing in this to reduce the deficit.”

The bill “raises taxes, increases spending and only promises potential spending cuts in the future,” according to McKinley.

Capito also has called for a balanced approach to addressing the nation’s spending and record deficit.

“The last-minute, haphazard process led to an unbalanced bill that includes no substantial reductions in spending and actually adds $3.9 trillion to our deficit,” she said. “If Congress is going to ask more from taxpayers, it must also ask more from Washington in the form of belt tightening across the federal government.”

Johnson, meanwhile, explained his “yes” vote in a press release.

“Washington has a spending problem that threatens the prosperity of our children and grandchildren,” he said. “Now that an agreement has been reached to prevent going over the fiscal cliff and permanently cut taxes on 99 percent of the American people, the table has been cleared to tackle the out-of-control federal spending that has amassed a $16 trillion national debt head-on.”