Lawmakers react to fiscal cliff deal - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Lawmakers react to fiscal cliff deal


Eau Claire (WQOW)- As the vote came down Tuesday night in the House, we saw something we haven't seen for a long time in Washington: bi-partisanship.  Wisconsin's House Delegation voted 5-3 in favor with all three Democrats in support along with two of the five Republicans.  On Wednesday, we heard from a pair of lawmakers: one who voted for it, the other against.

"It was an imperfect solution to an imperfect process," says Congressman Ron Kind.

Early Tuesday morning, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of a deal that averts the fiscal cliff.  The bill then went to the House, which approved it by a closer margin.

"While this does bring greater certainty to families and small businesses that their income taxes aren't going to go up, we still have to get back to work and try to find a long term deficit-reduction agreement in a bi-partisan way," Kind explains.

Although taxes won't go up for most Americans, payroll taxes will go up.

"The payroll tax reduction was meant to be temporary," Kind points out.  "It was enacted two years ago as part of the American recovery so-called stimulus bill.  Everyone at the time knew it had to be temporary.  This does affect the long-term solvency of the social security program because those payroll taxes are going to fund social security."

Congressman Sean Duffy voted against the deal.

"We had spending cuts that we had agreed to a year and a half ago that were supposed to take place on January 1st," Duffy says.  "Those spending cuts were kicked down the road for another two months."

Lawmakers have until march now to address those cutbacks; billions of dollars that could be slashed from defense and domestic programs.

"With a $16 trillion debt and the fact that we borrow $1.1 to $1.2 trillion a year, we have to get serious on the spending side," Duffy points out.

"It's going after the big-spending programs for reforms," Kind explains.  "That's rising health care costs and defense.  And both sides are going to have to be willing to give up some things in both those areas in order to get it done."

"If the President is willing to honestly sit at the table with us and talk about how we reform our spending, fix our entitlements, we'll have a Kumbaya moment in government," Duffy says.  "But if the President continues to claim that he wants to increase revenue and spend more money, we are going to have a big fight on our hands."

So while one crisis has been averted, it appears it won't be long before Washington faces another one. 

One of the most closely watched votes came from a budget hawk, the House Budget Committee Chairman and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.  He was one of the two house Republicans from our state to support the bill.

This is how he explained the vote: Ryan said he joined his colleagues to protect as many Americans as possible from a tax increase.  He said they also provided certainty by making the lower rates permanent.  He said the House already passed legislation to prevent tax increases for every American family, but says it was unfortunate President Obama insisted on taking more from hardworking taxpayers.

After his vote, Erick Erickson, a conservative commentator, tweeted ‘thus ends the Paul Ryan 2016 Presidential Exploratory Committee.'

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