Wisconsin delegation weighs in on fiscal cliff

Congress returns next week to discuss
Wisconsin delegation weighs in on fiscal cliff

President Barack Obama is inviting members of Congress to the White House to discuss avoiding automatic cuts and tax hikes in the new year.

But some of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation says it won’t be easy to get an agreement to avoid a fiscal cliff.

The president made his first public comments following his re-election Tuesday, addressing the nation’s looming fiscal issues and how to handle them along with Congress.

“I want to be clear: I’m not wedded to every detail of my plan,” Obama said. “I’m open to compromise. I’m open to new ideas. I’m committed to solving our fiscal challenges, but I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced. I’m not going to ask students and seniors and middle class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me making over $250,000 aren’t asked to pay a dime more in taxes. I’m not going to do that,” he said. 

But Republicans seem equally intent on opposing any tax increases, saying it could hurt small business owners. 

Senator Ron Johnson told WISC-TV today, that the president’s hard line doesn’t sound like compromise to him.

“What we’re faced with is a president that seems not willing to compromise at all,” said Johnson. “Just to say ‘my way or the highway, let’s punish success, lets increase taxes on small to medium size businesses,’ I’m not going to support that because it will harm economic growth.”

Johnson says that none of the tax brackets should be raised and that would provide certainty that would “allow the economy to take off.”

While the Senate has passed the measure that would increase taxes on the highest income earners already, the Republican-controlled House has refused thus far.

Congress will return next week to discuss the matter and the president says he’s invited leaders of both parties to the White House for negotiations.

If an agreement isn’t reached, the Bush tax cuts on all wage earners would expire as well as an additional payroll tax cut enacted by the Obama administration.

An additional $800 billion in spending cuts could be triggered, including $55 billion in defense cuts and even some unemployment benefits would expire.

Someone making a salary of $50,000 could expect to pay about $2,000 more a year in taxes.