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Kansas’ delegation splits on fiscal cliff vote

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, at 11:28 a.m.
  • Updated Friday, March 22, 2013, at 3:47 p.m.

Kansas’ all-Republican congressional delegation split Tuesday on its vote of a bill that kept America from going over the so-called fiscal cliff.

Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts supported the bill, while Reps. Mike Pompeo, Tim Huelskamp, Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder voted against it.

Two hours into the New Year, the Senate voted overwhelmingly, 89-8, for the legislation that pulled the federal government back from the fiscal cliff. After negotiations throughout the day, the House backed the bill, 257-167, late Tuesday night with 172 Democrats joining 85 Republicans in supporting the measure.

President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law as early as Wednesday.

The legislation postpones automatic spending cuts, also known as sequestration, for two months. It also continues tax cuts for all but individuals earning more than $400,000 and families earning more than $450,000.

It does not continue Social Security payroll tax cuts implemented temporarily two years go to boost the economy. That means wage-earners will see an increase of two percentage points in payroll taxes. A person earning $30,000 annually will see his social security payroll taxes increase by $600 annually.

Pompeo, the Wichita Republican who was re-elected in November for a second term, objected to postponing spending cuts.

“It’s unfortunate that this bill is just more crony capitalism, forking over taxpayer dollars to special interests,” he said in a news release. “Meanwhile, Congress is agreeing to delay necessary spending cuts.”

In also voting against the measure, Huelskamp, of Fowler, said in a news release, “This is just another deal by Washington insiders – with no real solutions.”

GOP leadership was split on the bill. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., voted against it, while House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, voted for it.

In supporting the American Taxpayer Relief Act, Roberts said in a news release, “Americans should not be made to pay the price of partisan politics and inaction Washington, especially in a stalled economy. While this deal is not the comprehensive solution I was seeking to America’s debt crisis, delay or inaction on taxes would have only harmed our economy.”

Roberts noted that the bill included extension of the 2008 Farm Bill through the end of September 2013.

“It provides consumers certainty by avoiding the dairy cliff,” Roberts said, “and it provides certainty to our producers and their lenders.”

In a release, Moran said of his support, “My goal has been to see that these tax increases affect the fewest number of Americans as possible. This bill protects 99 percent of all Americans. And most importantly to Kansas farmers, ranchers and business owners (it) permanently reduces the estate taxes rates and locks in 10 million per couple exemption.”

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or at rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com.

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