Gillibrand says she's optimistic fiscal cliff can be avoided

Dec 14, 2012

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is optimistic that the President Barack Obama and leadership of the House of Representatives will cut a deal to prevent the so-called "fiscal cliff."  New York's junior senator predicted there would be progress soon during a visit to Syracuse Friday.

Despite reports that negotiations over the deal to avoid the fiscal cliff have stalled, or have not made progress, Gillibrand thinks things will become clearer in the next week.

"There may well have been a certain amount of political posturing up to now, but I'm hopeful that where the rubber meets the road, we'll begin to have an agreement and come together around a consensus and a balanced approach that America can stand behind," said the senator.

If the president and Congress can not agree on a deal of taxes and budget cuts, automatic spending cuts go into effect at the end of the year.

And if there is no deal, Gillibrand admits the Empire State may get the worst of it.

"New York will fare very poorly under the current budget control act.  It'll mean a lot of jobs lost," said Gillibrand. "It also means things like money for fire fighters, teachers and hospital workers that will all be diminished and that will mean a tougher time making ends meet in our state."

Gillibrand says her biggest concern about the fiscal cliff is the potential impact it could have on the middle class.

"These issues affect everyday families about their retirement, about their tax rate.  I'm really urging that we fight for the middle class and make sure they are protected," she said.

But the Democrat said she's hopeful that the two sides can agree to attack the impending budget deadline in a balanced way.