Rep. Gary Miller said he believes Congress can avert the "fiscal cliff" without new taxes or defense cuts.

The term "fiscal cliff" refers to scheduled federal tax increases or automated budget cuts scheduled to go into effect with the new year.

Legislators said they spending cuts - called "sequestration" in government-speak - were not actually intended to go into effect but Congress has thus far failed to agree on a better plan to cut the deficit.

The Congressional Budget Office has warned the combined effects of tax hikes and spending cuts could suck hundreds of billions of dollars from the economy and sink the United States into a new recession.

Congress is scheduled to return to work Tuesday. Miller said its imperative for Congress to make a deal by year's end.

"We can't postpone that. It has to be dealt with now," he said in a telephone interview on Nov. 8.

Miller, R-Brea, defeated fellow Republican state Sen. Bob Dutton this past Election Day. Miller will represent the new 31st Congressional District, which ranges from Upland to Redlands.

When Miller returns to work, he will rejoin a Republican-controlled House of Representatives that must somehow reach an accord with the Democratic-controlled Senate and newly-reelected President Obama.

Republicans and Democrats have barely managed to reach any agreements on fiscal policy during the 112th Congress.

Rep. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino, said in a Nov. interview that Congress will achieve a comprehensive deficit-reduction deal and that legislators will instead "kick the can" down the road.

The next few weeks will be Baca's last ones in Congress, unless he seeks a comeback in a futrue election. State Sen. Gloria Negrete-McLeod, also a Democrat, defeated Baca in Tuesday's election.

In August 2011, Standard & Poor's lowered the United States' credit rating for the first time in history after a standoff over raising the national debt ceiling went so far that pundits openly wondered if Washington would default on national debt payments.

Obama said during his campaign that he wants to allow tax cuts for upper-income earners to expire. Miller said Wednesday that he thinks House Republicans can win a deal avoiding tax hikes or cuts to the military.

"That's the worst thing we can do, is to raise taxes on the American people," Miller said.

"I find it hard to believe that there's a willingness from the Democrats in the Senate to weaken the military," he said later. "That's a position to barter from, but I don't think it's their true position."