In regard to the so-called fiscal cliff, Rep. Michael Capuano, who represents Milton's Precincts 1 and 5 in the new 7th Congressional District, does not think Democrats and Republicans will reach a "grand bargain" before January 1st.
Speaking in Somerville after a groundbreaking ceremony for veterans housing, Capuano said, "We have to do something in the next couple of weeks," but added Congress will likely be dealing with the matter for a long time. "I think we'll be doing this for the foreseeable future," he said.
"People have got to understand we'll reach a compromise at some point, but this is going to impact peoples daily lives," he said.
The congressman agreed with some who think the term "fiscal cliff" might not be accurate. "I think it's the wrong imagery. The world does not end January 1st. It is a slope, and it is not what we want to do, but the term cliff implies at some point in time, that's it," he said.
Capuano said the negotiations taking place "shouldn't be taken lightly."
"There are serious, important differences of philosophical opinion about what kind of country we're going to have. These are not minor points. In my opinion this is about the future of America, what kind of a country do you want, and we're only really going to get one or two shots at this" he said.
The outcome of these negotiations could have a significant impact on Massachusetts, Capuano said.
"We're talking potentially billions of dollars of cuts to Medicare to Massachusetts, never mind anybody else, just Massachusetts," he said. "That means something. It's just a number on a budget to some people, but it means nursing jobs, it means potentially how many more doctors we can create and medical education, it means money we put into research, which is the future of this country, so this is serious stuff."