MADISON -- Congress missed the deadline to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, but did come up with an 11th hour solution that hikes taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Wisconsin's congressional representatives were split on the fiscal cliff deal.
The split really came in the Republican Party, faced with a tough challenge: vote "no" and everybody's taxes would go up. Vote "yes" and only wealthy people would get hit with tax increases, but it also violates the Republican Party's core principals.
Menomonee Falls Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner was particularly displeased with the deal.
"The fiscal cliff deal is bad for America and bad for the people of the 5th District of Wisconsin," Sensenbrenner said.
The fiscal cliff deal only passed due to Republican support, illustrating how the GOP was not moving in lock-step.
"We Republicans have never acted like the Rockettes in New York City. I think every Republican had to make a determination on what was best for the country and best for their district," Sensenbrenner said.
Janesville Republican Rep. Paul Ryan voted for the deal, even though it meant raising taxes on wealthy Americans. He issued a statement saying: "I joined my colleagues in the House to protect as many Americans as possible from a tax increase. I commend my colleagues for limiting the damage as much as possible."
Appleton Republican Rep. Reid Ribble sided with Ryan and against many of his fellow Republicans. He said the deal, which included fixing the so-called "milk cliff" by extending farm subsidies was good for Wisconsin.
"For Wisconsin particularly, there was a fix to the dairy policy that was included in here, so one of our largest industries is able to have the proper safety net that maintains the proper pricing on dairy products," Ribble said.
In the House, five members voted for it, including all the Democrats.
Both sides are now gearing up for a fight over spending cuts. Milwaukee Democrat Gwen Moore says: "It is my sincere hope that the GOP does not try to take a hatchet to the much needed social programs that will be necessary in keeping our economy moving forward."
"I hope we make our stand on spending cuts rather than wimping out like we did late in the night on New Year's Eve," Sensenbrenner said.
The next part of the fiscal cliff debate involving spending cuts was postponed. Republicans say they'll be on more solid footing to make those arguments about spending reductions now that the tax issue has been dealt with.
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