Idaho lawmakers divided over fiscal cliff bill


by KTVB.COM and Associated Press

Posted on January 1, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 3:29 AM

WASHINGTON -- Legislation to block the "fiscal cliff" is headed to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature. The bill will avoid, for now, the major tax increases and government spending cuts that had been scheduled to take effect with the new year.

Final approval came in the House on New Year's Night. The vote was 257 to 167.

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson voted in support of the bill, while Congressman Raul Labrador voted against the bill.

Idaho senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch both voted for the bill.

The Senate passed the bill less than 24 hours earlier.

The measure raises tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples, a victory for Obama.

It also extends expiring unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, prevents a cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and cancels a $900 pay increase due to lawmakers in March.

The bill also: 

  • Extends unemployment and middle class tax breaks
  • Keeps the alternative minimum tax from hitting working families
  • Prevents tax hikes for 98 percent of americans.
  • Raises the estate tax threshold to over $5 million.
  • Eliminates a 2% payroll tax cut for workers
  • Prevent a spike in milk prices.


Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch released a joint statement Tuesday, shortly after they both voted on the bipartisan compromise legislation.

They said "The compromise that we supported protects 99-percent of all Idahoans from a tax increase. This is a victory for working Idahoans, but we must now be very aggressive in finding appropriate spending reductions."

Congressman Mike Simpson supported the bill, saying "While I remain a strong proponent of a more comprehensive approach to solving our nation's long-term fiscal crisis, this bill is a critical piece of legislation that lowers taxes for nearly every taxpayer."

On the other hand, Idaho First District Congressman Raúl Labrador said, "The deal does nothing to address out of control spending and delays the only meaningful cuts Congress has been able to pass in the last two years."