Wisconsin Lawmakers Not Thrilled with Bill That Averted Fiscal Cliff

None of the U.S. elected officials from Wisconsin particularly cared for the deal hammered out to avoid the "fiscal cliff" — and that includes those who voted for it.

The "fiscal cliff" was averted Tuesday when the U.S. House handily passed a bill approved a day earlier in the U.S. Senate that raised taxes on the wealthy and staved off a tax increase for the middle-class.

The bill passed 257-167 in the House, a comfortable 40 votes more than what was needed to become law.

Among the congressmen serving southeastern Wisconsin, U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI 5th District) and Tom Petri (R-WI 6th District) voted "no" on the measure, while U.S. Reps. Paul Ryan (R- WI 1st District) and Gwen Moore (D- WI 4th District) cast "yes" votes. U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI 7th District), who now serves the Hudson area, voted no.

The U.S. Senate passed the bill 89-8 on Monday with Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Herb Kohl (D-WI) both voting for it.

And while the fiscal cliff has been averted for now, members of both parties aren’t overly happy with the whole bill.

Ryan initially rebuffed journalists asking for a comment, but the Journal Sentinel reported the following statement from him:

"Today, I joined my colleagues in the House to protect as many Americans as possible from a tax increase. We also provided certainty by making the lower tax rates permanent. The House has already passed legislation to prevent tax increases for every American family, and it is unfortunate that President Obama insisted on taking more from hardworking taxpayers. Despite my concerns with other provisions in the bill, I commend my colleagues for limiting the damage as much as possible."

However, Sensenbrenner said in a press release that he couldn't support the bill because it "doesn’t promote economic growth or job creation, it discourages it. Rather than address the drivers of our debt problem, it completely avoids any serious spending reform."

In a similar vein, Duffy issued a statement that said he couldn't support the bill "because it does not include a serious, sustainable plan for balancing the budget and reducing our debt."

In a statement posted on her website, Moore said while the bill wasn’t the “grand deal” she hoped for, she was pleased that the deal was reached that held the line on tax rates for “the middle class and the most vulnerable of our nation – the poor.”

Petri said he voted against the bill because it didn't accomplish what it should have.

"I am totally in favor of extending the tax cuts for the middle class, but other than that, this is not the deal I expected," he said in a statement. "I thought the deal was supposed to be that Republicans would compromise on raising taxes, and Democrats would compromise on cutting spending. But that didn't happen. Instead, we got higher taxes and bigger deficits. That's not what I consider progress."

Johnson also noted in a press release that the bill was less than desirable, but it achieved several key goals:

"Although I strongly prefer extension of current tax rates for all Americans, I supported the compromise bill that protects 99 percent of Wisconsinites from an income tax increase, limits the death tax, and prevents a dramatic increase in milk prices. It is by no means a perfect piece of legislation."

Kohl had not issued a statement as of 11 a.m.

So what does the bill mean to the American people?

According to CNN, here are details contained in the budget bill:

  • The tax rate for individuals making more than $400,000 and couples making more than $450,000 will rise from the current 35 percent to the Clinton-era rate of 39.6 percent.
  • Itemized deductions will be capped for individuals making $250,000 and for married couples making $300,000.
  • Taxes on inherited estates will go up to 40 percent from 35 percent.
  • Unemployment insurance will be extended for a year for 2 million people.
  • The alternative minimum tax, a perennial issue, will be permanently adjusted for inflation.
  • Child care, tuition and research and development tax credits will be renewed.
  • The "Doc Fix" — reimbursements for doctors who take Medicare patients -- will continue, but it won't be paid for out of the Obama administration's signature health care law.

And now that the "fiscal cliff" has been averted, Moore told WISN-TV that “serious negotiations” needed to happen between Democrats and Republicans with regards to the federal budget in January and February to “prevent a serious recession in 2013.”

Johnson also told WISN that the country needs to have “a competitive tax environment, a competitive regulatory environment, use domestic energy resources” and address issues with President Barack Obama’s health care laws.

Captain Midnight January 03, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Obviouslly you don't know the meaning of the words "totalitrian" and "dictatorial". Totalitarian dictators don't have negotiating teams at work to develop the terms of the agreement, nor do they allow voting on the terms. Go drape yourself in your Gadsen flag and sulk.
yomammy January 03, 2013 at 07:24 PM
so paying the same RATE across the board is class warfare.,...wow.
yomammy January 03, 2013 at 07:25 PM
...I lost all my guns in a boating accident... Obama...greatest gun salesman in the world.
FreeThought Troy January 03, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Yes. Yes, it is.
Captain Midnight January 03, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Perhaps one should have told St. Reagan who tripled the Debt on his watch. Perhaps someone should have mentioned it to Bush the Lesser when he doubled the Debt while putting two wars and gigantic tax cuts of the national credit card, which then resulted in the Great Recession. Where were the Great Sensenbrenner and the great Paul "I like vouchers" Ryan? They were right there approving the debt that Bush was running up, that's where they were. Hyprocrites.
Young Conservative January 03, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Nevermind Troy. He has never run a company, never had to make payroll, never had to sell or manufacture a product. He is a moocher on the system and is the child of a mooch.
FreeThought Troy January 03, 2013 at 07:32 PM
Glad to see insults in the face of the truth. You still don't know a thing about me OR my family. You need to keep them out of it, scumbag
Young Conservative January 03, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Come on Troy, let's hear about your vast experience running things! According to our files, you have been on the receiving end of other folks hard work. Man up!
Captain Midnight January 03, 2013 at 07:37 PM
It's obvious that the New Year has not increased your factual knowledge one bit. How about not spending one cent giving tax breaks to the oil industry, which is the largest in the world. How about not purchasing $50 million per copy C-17 cargo planes which the Air Force does not want. How about bringing 28,000 troops home from South Korea? How about not constructing a $500,000,000 base for 2,000 troops in Italy? How about bring the 60,000 troops home from Germany? How about not purchasing 1,800 F-35 Joint Strike fighter bombers with an expected lietime cost of nearly $2,000,000,000,000? How about getting rid of farm subsidies for large corporate farms like those owned by Cargill and others? Just a couple of ideas.
Captain Midnight January 03, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Yes, and that yacht (not yaght) will likely be built in Norway, Finland or South Korea. What evidence do you have that rich people spend money more wisely? The 40,000 sq. ft. mansions? The use of offshore tax havens? The expensive club memberships? Also incllude a spell checker for James like the one Troy is getting.
FreeThought Troy January 03, 2013 at 07:44 PM
One: you insulted my parents and that is out of line Two: I have managed employees – another example of you speaking out of ignorance though that should not surprise anyone Three: I have worked in manufacturing so am not ignorant of the process Four: your “file” about me are stereo types and flat out lies…much like your opinions and argument style. Time to grow up, Young.
Captain Midnight January 03, 2013 at 07:55 PM
What an idiot.
Chris January 03, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Renee, No one is saying they are a "villian". But to say they pay some sort of tax is either an uninformed statement, disingenuous, or a flat out lie. On the other hand, my employee has the 3 kids, with 3 different men...which is her right to do so, but to have her "net" out more than she earns because of her bad choices is just crazy. It's not hard NOT to be poor. When I was 18, I made $6.00/hr. at one job, and delivered the newspaper every morning, and lived on my own...with 2 other roommates. I didn't starve, nor did I get any assistance. Owned a car, made sure I had proper nutrition (okay, frozen pizza), and had money left over. Make good choices, you won't be poor. You don't have to be a genius, you don't even need to earn much more than minimum wage.
yomammy January 03, 2013 at 08:44 PM
Bucky January 04, 2013 at 01:36 AM
Patriot ... There maybe only one way out of this ... Drink the Kool Aid !
Bucky January 04, 2013 at 01:38 AM
Patriot ... They are coming to get you and your Lil Dog ToTo to !
Bucky January 04, 2013 at 01:41 AM
Patriot ... If you don't like here in FritzWalkerstan why don't you leave the country ?
Bucky January 04, 2013 at 01:53 AM
The Anti-Alinsky Thank you , Sir.
NObama 2012 January 04, 2013 at 12:36 PM
And while we watch Obama destroy the majority of America Wisconsin fights back. Through tough decisions and bold reforms, Governor Walker was able to turn Wisconsin around after the destruction the Progressive Jim Doyle caused. We now have a $341 million surplus and our unemployment has dropped to 6.7 percent! Walker for President!
yomammy January 04, 2013 at 03:58 PM
The fact that their rich means they probably save/spend more wisely....ships are built all over the place. Who frigging cares? What about the ipad you typed this on.... When the .gov spends 2 million on a company, it took 20 million to do it...
yomammy January 04, 2013 at 04:02 PM
the AF does need c-17's its the go-to aircraft right now. the F-35 is a typical .gov scam/abortion...should have kept the 22's or update the '16s We need bases in other countries because we babysit the world. and they are strategic points- we need them ro be able to resaoanbly reach/protect our interests.
yomammy January 04, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Hope everyone is enjoying their new found, exciting less-of-a-paycheck this year.... Not a good way to get people out spending....
FreeThought Troy January 04, 2013 at 04:08 PM
I am not all that enthusiastic about the payroll tax expiring, either. Just glad the rest of my tax cuts are permanent and I still have my mortgage deduction. For those of you making more than $400k this year, please remember you have the Bush Era tax rate UP TO $400k. The middle class thanks you for stepping up, finally
FreeThought Troy January 04, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Having the money to spend will actually help me spend it. Losing the home mortgage tax credit would pretty much kill a lot of my spending as it would a vast majority of the middle class. Glad there are some willing to look out for us and not just the uber rich..
Randy1949 January 04, 2013 at 04:26 PM
No one is enthusiastic about paying more to the government. That's a given. But the payroll tax (FICA) is a different thing from income tax, and it's for a different purpose. That said, every person with earned income is now paying another 2% on the first dollar earned up to $105K, roughly. People fortunate enough to earn over $400K ($450K for couples) are only paying the extra 4% on the amount that exceeds $400K. On all monies earned below that figure, their income tax remains the same. I'm not how sure this affects the percentage of total income earned for each group of people, and it's too early in the morning for me to try to do it. I think we all have shared a sacrifice in the interest of solving our growing debt problem. As for spending cuts, those are still to be negotiated.
Patriot January 04, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Ya well how about the very large percentage that dont pay a single time in federal income tax, rather they are living off the Government Dole. Yes some really are in need but a large portion of those free loaders are just that. FREE LOADERS!! Completely able to work but choose not as they would take a pay cut. So enough with your tax the wealthy, thanks wealthy for finally stepping up. CLASSS WAREFARE at its best. Our Country has never been so divided in our history that under this President
FreeThought Troy January 04, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Yes, Patriot. FREE LOADERS!! Like Veterans and the military. SSI Seniors who spent their working lives paying income tax. Students. The working poor. It’s class warfare alright.
CowDung January 04, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Troy: I believe that Patriot was pretty specific in who he was including with his 'freeloader' comment. Please don't misrepresent his statement by extrapolating it to include everyone that legitimately receives benefits from the government... "Completely able to work but choose not as they would take a pay cut. "
FreeThought Troy January 04, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Maybe so, but the number of individuals are so small it does not even come close to addressing anything – let alone the compromised tax policy. This rhetoric is Conservative media based nonsense
Randy1949 January 04, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Patriot's post was unclear when he spoke about the large percentage who don't pay a single dime in federal income tax and then went on to speak about people on the dole although they could work. He failed to acknowledge the group of working people who because of low income and the use of tax deductions, exemptions and credit end up owing no federal income tax yet are taking no government aid. They's just people trying to get by the best they can without having to rely on government aid. For Patriot's information, there were years where I owed no federal income tax and took no advantage of the EITC or child-care credit, but I did pay self-employment tax. I wasn't taking any other kind of government aid, and I don't enjoy being called a free-loader for not owing tax.


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