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January 3, 2013
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Aspen's House representative voted against fiscal-cliff bill

ASPEN - Pitkin County's representative in Congress voted against the fiscal-cliff settlement when the proposal finally went before the U.S. House for a vote late Tuesday night.

Rep. Scott Tipton, a Republican from Cortez, joined Colorado's other three House Republicans voting against the measure. Colorado's three House Democrats, including Jared Polis, whose district includes the Roaring Fork Valley portion of Eagle County, voted for the settlement.

It passed the House 257-167.

Colorado's two U.S. senators, both Democrats, were divided in a vote late on New Year's Day. Sen. Mark Udall supported the proposal, while Sen. Michael Bennet voted against it. Bennet was one of only three Democrats in the Senate to vote against it and just one of eight overall who were in opposition. The vote was 89-8.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill Thursday.

Tipton, who was re-elected to a second term in the House in November, said in a statement that he opposed the package because it doesn't address spending and "kicks the can down the road."

"The Senate bill raises $41 million in revenues for every $1 of spending cuts," Tipton said in his statement. "It is nothing more than business as usual as Washington tries to increase the size of government on the backs of the hardworking American people. The failure to face the real issue - the spending crisis in this country - is irresponsible, dysfunctional and egregious."

Tipton said his constituents want a "balanced solution" that deals with the national debt by slashing spending.

The bill's proponents hailed the fact that it makes tax cuts permanent for many Americans. The Bush administration tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 and couples earning less than $450,000 were extended. The tax rate on those who make more than that will rise from 35 percent to 39.6 percent.

The bill extends unemployment insurance and delays for two months automatic, across-the-board spending cuts in the federal government.

Bennet's vote raised eyebrows because he bucked his colleagues from the same party as well as the president. Bennet is regarded as a rising star in the party. He released a statement early Tuesday morning on the fiscal-cliff vote.

"Washington once again has lived up to its reputation as the 'Land of Flickering Lights.' For four years in my town hall meetings across the state Coloradans have told me they want a plan that materially reduces the deficit," Bennet said in the statement. "This proposal does not meet that standard and does not put in place a real process to reduce the debt down the road."

He said he supported many provisions of the bill, such as a wind-production tax credit seen as vital for Colorado's interests, but he couldn't support it overall without a comprehensive spending-reduction package.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Jan 3, 2013 06:41AM Published Jan 3, 2013 01:15AM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.