Delegation divided on fiscal-cliff deal

The Kansas congressional delegation was divided on the fiscal-cliff agreement. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran took the pragmatic approach that the compromise was better than going over the cliff and raising taxes on everyone. “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, damaged retirement savings and penalized Kansans of all ages,” Roberts said in a statement. But all four House members voted against the deal. “I cannot support it without amendment,” Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, said in a statement, citing the delay in spending cuts and “more crony capitalism.” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, said: “This is just another deal by Washington insiders – with no real solutions.” The deal kept the Bush-era tax cuts in place for everyone except individuals making more than $400,000 a year and households earning more than $450,000. It also postponed spending cuts for two months, allowed the temporary payroll-tax cut to expire, extended unemployment benefits and the farm bill, and prevented sharp cuts in Medicare reimbursements. It doesn’t include any changes to Medicare and Social Security, the main drivers of the nation’s long-term debt problems. And the decisions to postpone the automatic budget cuts and not extend the debt ceiling merely mean that there will be another protracted fight next month.