Majority of Wisconsin delegation voted for bill avoiding fiscal cliffWisconsin News
Wisconsin House members voted 5 to 3 in favor of the compromise that avoided the national fiscal cliff of massive federal spending cuts and tax hikes on the middle class. Both of Wisconsin’s senators, Herb Kohl and Ron Johnson, voted for the bill.
Wisconsin House members voted 5 to 3 in favor of the compromise that avoided the national fiscal cliff of massive federal spending cuts and tax hikes on the middle class.
The measure passed 257-167 just before 10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2.
It was the same bill passed by the Senate on New Year’s Eve. Both of Wisconsin’s senators, Herb Kohl and Ron Johnson, voted for the bill.
House Republicans Jim Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri and Sean Duffy were the state’s only lawmakers to vote no.
Duffy, who represents the Wisconsin 7th District that includes St. Croix County, issued a statement Wednesday saying he opposed the bill because it didn’t include a plan for balancing the budget and reducing the national debt.
“I respect the effort that went into crafting this agreement which will prevent tax increases for many Americans, including many hard-working Wisconsin families,” Duffy said in the statement. “While my constituents want lower taxes, they also demand fiscal responsibility. They know that with more than $16 trillion of debt and borrowing $1 trillion a year our country is on an unsustainable path.”
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Janesville said he voted yes to protect as many Americans as possible from a large tax increase.
All employees will still get a Social Security tax hike that averages around $60 a month. That’s because a two-percent temporary tax cut will end, after it was passed two years ago to stimulate the economy.
Republican Rep. Reid Ribble said basic tax rates will stay the same for 99 percent of all Americans. Ribble also said he was glad that the compromise avoids a large hike in consumer milk prices, and it prevents a cut in payments for doctors who treat Medicare patients.
Democratic Reo, Gwen Moore of Milwaukee said she was happy that the deal continues extended unemployment benefits, and increases taxes for couples making more than $450,000 a year.
Moore said spending cuts would again dominate discussion in the House in two months, when an increase in the debt ceiling will come up again.
Last vote for Sen. Kohl
The vote on avoiding the fiscal cliff was the last for Sen. Herb Kohl of his 24 years in the U.S. Senate.
Kohl, a Democrat, and Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson were among the 89 senators voting in favor of the measure. Only eight senators voted no.
Kohl did not make a statement on his vote.
Johnson said he was hoping to extend tax cuts for everybody, but the compromise will avoid a major tax hike for 99 percent of Wisconsinites. Madison Democrat Tammy Baldwin also voted for the fiscal cliff compromise in her final action after 14 years in the U.S. House.
Moore was sworn in Thursday by Vice President Joe Biden to replace Kohl as Wisconsin’s newest – and first woman – senator.