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Hultgren cites spending issues for ‘no’ vote on fiscal cliff

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren R-Wheaton.

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Wheaton.

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How they voted

The 257-167 roll call Tuesday by which the House passed the agreement that avoided the so-called fiscal cliff of middle-class tax increases and spending cuts and sent the measure to President Barack Obama. A “yes” vote was a vote to pass the bill. Voting yes were 172 Democrats and 85 Republicans. Voting no were 16 Democrats and 151 Republicans.

Below is how Illinois’ members of the House voted on the compromise legislation.

Democrats: Costello, Y; Davis, Y; Gutierrez, Y; Lipinski, Y; Quigley, Y; Rush, Y; Schakowsky, Y.

Republicans: Biggert, Y; Dold, Y; Hultgren, N; Johnson, Y; Kinzinger, Y; Manzullo, Y; Roskam, N; Schilling, N; Schock, Y; Shimkus, Y; Walsh, N

Updated: February 4, 2013 2:51PM

The nation may have tip-toed away from the edge of the fiscal cliff — a series of tax hikes and across-the-board spending cuts aimed at reducing the national debt — but lawmakers warn the country is hardly back to solvency.

In a deal brokered late Tuesday evening, the House passed a bill that raises income taxes on those earning more than $400,000 as well as capital gains taxes for high earners. The deal also postpones deep cuts in defense and domestic spending for two months to give Congress time to work out a more permanent plan.

But, while the deal avoids major tax increases for average and low-wage workers, local representatives are critical of the last-minute, temporary package.

“I certainly didn’t want to go over the fiscal cliff,” said U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Wheaton, “but the bigger threat to our nation is our out-of-control spending. It is absolutely going to affect our quality of life and the quality of life for our children and grandchildren.”

Hultgren, who now represents about half of Lake County in the new 14th Congressional District, cast one of the 167 votes against the deal that averted the fiscal cliff.

He said that though he campaigned on a pledge to not raise any taxes, the automatic tax increases that would have resulted from sequestration amounted to the lesser of two evils.

“I’m very supportive of not raising taxes on anybody,” he said. “My frustration, however, is the amount of debt we have, the spending that continues.”

Hultgren said that postponing decisions on deep spending cuts would cost taxpayers another $600 million.

Over the next two months, Congress will be faced not only with decisions on spending cuts, but with another vote on the debt ceiling — a vote that does not increase the country’s debts, but allows the Federal Reserve to borrow to pay for debts already incurred.

While historically Congress has raised the debt ceiling dozens of times previously with little quarrel, in 2011 partisan fighting nearly killed a rise in the debt ceiling, which, in turn, nearly resulted in the United States defaulting on its debts.

Another vote to raise the debt ceiling will need to be cast by March to keep the U.S. from defaulting.

“I don’t want to see us default, but we can’t keep doing this every year, maxing out the credit card and raising the credit limit,” said Hultgren.

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