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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

 7:04 AM 

Ryan, Ribble join Wisconsin Dems in supporting fiscal cliff bill

GOP U.S. Reps. Paul Ryan and Reid Ribble joined all three Dems in the state’s House delegation to support legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Republicans Sean Duffy, Tom Petri and Jim Sensenbrenner voted against the deal, which passed the House 257-167.

Duffy posted on his Facebook page that he respected the effort that went into the agreement, but his constituents want lower taxes and 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,” Duffy wrote. “I voted against this deal because it does not include a serious, sustainable plan for balancing the budget and reducing our debt.”

Ryan, the House Budget chair, praised his colleagues for "limiting the damage as much as possible" despite his concerns with other provisions in the bill. He added Americans chose divided government and elected officials have to apply their principles and weigh the benefits and costs of action and of inaction.

"In H.R. 8, there are clearly provisions that I oppose," Ryan said. "But the question remains: Will the American people be better off if this law passes relative to the alternative? In the final analysis, the answer is undoubtedly yes. I came to Congress to make tough decisions—not to run away from them."

Several members who supported the bill said it was not perfect, but praises pieces of the legislation even as they looked forward to the upcoming debate over the nation’s debt ceiling.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, said she was pleased it extends unemployment benefits and hoped Republicans would not “try to take a hatchet to the much needed social programs that will be necessary in keeping our economy moving forward” in addressing the debt ceiling.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, called the bill a compromise in which neither party got its way.

“I still believe we must go big and find real savings in defense, health care, and tax reform to get ourselves on a sustainable fiscal path,” Kind said.

Ribble, R-Sherwood, said the bill provides certainty for millions of Americans on their taxes while averting “the dairy cliff” by avoiding a potential hike in prices.

“I have been outspoken that in order to get our economy back on track, revenue must go up and spending must go down,” he said. “There is no other way to put it, so until there is significant spending cuts, our country will wind up back in the same upside down situation: spending more than we take in.”

UPDATE: Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, and Petri, R-Fond du Lac, issued statements criticizing the fiscal cliff deal for a lack of compromise on spending.

“The so-called deal doesn’t promote economic growth or job creation, it discourages it," Sensenbrenner said. "Rather than address the drivers of our debt problem, it completely avoids any serious spending reform.”

Petri added the bill was "not the deal I expected."

"I thought the deal was supposed to be that Republicans would compromise on raising taxes, and Democrats would compromise on cutting spending," Petri said. "But that didn't happen. Instead we got higher taxes and bigger deficits."


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