LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- Opinions among Wisconsin lawmakers are mixed regarding the fiscal cliff bill that passed the House Tuesday night after clearing the Senate in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Congressman Ron Kind (D, La Crosse) said while he's relieved the house passed the bill preventing across the board tax hikes from going into effect, lawmakers aren't patting themselves on the backs.
"We owe a better performance to the American people than what they've received," Kind said. "Waitinguntil the last minute to make decisions like this, that typically results in short termgap measures and isn't what our economy needs rightnow. It's not conducive to the type of job creation and long termgrowth we need."
"I think more thanever, businesses and families alike would likegreater certainty," Kind said.
Senator Ron Johnson (R, Wisconsin) said he was far from enthusiastic about the bill that passed the Senate -- even though he was one of the 89 Senators to vote for it.
"I'm not going to say this was agreat bill. It simply wasn't," Johnson said. "I wish I'd had the luxury of votingfor a good bill, but I didn't."
"I was faced with a very stark choice: either vote 'yes' and prevent 98 or 99percent of Americans and Wisconsinites from an income tax increase, or vote 'no' and allow half-a-trillion dollars of tax increases to take effect," Johnson said. "That would've done great economicharm."
"So in the end I had to decide to vote 'yes' on a very imperfect piece of legislation produced by a horribly broken and dysfunctional process," said Johnson, who believed the bill should have been brought up for more debate.
Johnson said Senators were required to vote on the bill without the option of adding amendments.
The tax bill also delayed the sequestration of automatic spending cuts to both domestic government programs and the defense budget from going into effect.
The cuts were scheduled to begin January 1, but were pushed back two months.
"I think it's important to keepthe pressure on Congress, and with the automatic spending cutsdue to take effect in two months now, that pressure remains," Kind said. "But we need toutilize this time over the next two months to have anhonest, serious conversation with one another about what spending reforms weneed in the budget."
Kind and Johnson agreed that healthcare is a major cause of the federal budget, and both voiced their hope that sensible cuts to healthcare could be achieved before the new deadline hits.
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