DesJarlais comments on fiscal cliff

Back in Congress, Rep. Scott DesJarlais offered brief comments on the House floor Wednesday, stating that lawmakers owed it to the American people to not go over the so-called fiscal cliff-a mix of tax increases and automatic spending cuts set to go into effect at year’s end.

The remarks were some of the first made by the congressman since he returned to Washington after weathering a scandal regarding relationships he had in the past with at least two women who were his patients.

Speaking for one minute, DesJarlais suggested the time had come for opposing political parties to work together.

“The American people have voiced their demands for an end to the partisan gridlock that has for too long plagued Washington,” DesJarlais said. “They expect their elected officials to work across party lines and across the branches of government to solve the challenges facing our nation.”

The congressman’s calls for bipartisanship went against criticism that was leveled at him during the campaign.

During his first bid for re-election, DesJarlais’ opponent, Eric Stewart, used footage of him saying he considered it a “badge of honor” to be a member of a “do-nothing Congress.” The congressman had made the reference suggesting it reflected poorly on the president, who had been unwilling to compromise with Republicans on issues.

With limited time for his floor remarks, DesJarlais offered no specific proposals for a solution to the fiscal cliff, instead suggesting that GOP members were prepared to act on previous policies proposed and passed in the House.

“House Republicans have already passed legislation to address these issues and stand ready to build upon them to avert this crisis,” DesJarlais said, before yielding back.