“In most cases, when 50 percent are happy and 50 percent are not, you probably did the right thing, especially on something that everybody’s engaged in, and I would say it’s about 50-50,” Isakson said.
Isakson said he voted for the deal because it made permanent the Bush tax rates for “99.1 percent” of the American people, keeping $3.7 trillion in taxes from going up over the next 10 years.
“For Georgia’s small businesses, family farmers, land owners, we made permanent the estate tax exemption at $5 million and indexed it to inflation, which is a huge plus for them,” he said. And, “we were able to bring about some degree of certainty to the business community going into a new year on what tax rates were going to be. We passed the tax extenders like the bonus depreciation for another year, which is big for small business and big business alike.”
Isakson said while he did not care for how the process unfolded, it was beyond his control.
“We weren’t in the majority in the Senate and were not able to pick and choose the process, but given the process we had and the leadership we had on the Democratic side I thought (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell did a good job, and I was pleased to vote for it.”
Isakson explained where the country goes from here.
“You’ve got a new deadline and you’ve got a new cliff,” he said. “It’s not a fiscal cliff, it’s an accountability cliff.”
The simple solution to the problem Congress finds itself in is to pass a budget by March 15, yet it’s been three years since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has allowed a budget to come to the floor, Isakson said.
“The budget law says the president will submit a budget to the Congress by March 15 and the Congress will act on it,” he said. “The president has submitted the budget, but Harry Reid won’t bring it to the floor, because when you submit the budget, it has to cast your policies out for the next decade. And the president’s programs and tax increases cast out over the next decade are so frightening nobody wanted to bring it to the floor and debate it on the Democratic side. It shows you what a charade fiscal responsibility is to this president and quite frankly to the majority in the Senate.”