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The Durango Herald - Tipton, Bennet vote no on last-minute fiscal-cliff plan

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Location: Unknown

By Joe Hanel

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, voted with Colorado's three other Republicans to oppose the last-minute budget deal New Year's night in Congress.

Meanwhile, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet was one of just three Democrats to vote against the deal in the Senate.

Late-night votes in the Senate and House allowed the country to avoid temporarily the "fiscal cliff" -- a set of large tax increases and spending cuts. The deal kept taxes the same for most Americans and raised them on upper-income earners. It delayed spending cuts for another two months.

Although Tipton and Bennet often disagree on politics, they both focused on concerns with the debt in opposing the deal.

Tipton issued a lengthy statement explaining his vote.

"The failure to face the real issue -- the spending crisis in this country -- is irresponsible, dysfunctional and egregious," Tipton said in his statement.

Also, Tipton said, the deal will raise taxes on thousands of small businesses. He predicted businesses would have to lay off employees and cut benefits.

In all, 151 Republicans voted against the deal, led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Eighty-five Republicans voted for it, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner. Democrats provided most of the needed votes, with 172 votes in favor and 16 against.

All three of Colorado's Democratic representatives voted for it.

In the Senate, Bennet broke with his party and President Barack Obama in opposing the deal and in his explanation for his vote.

"For four years in my town-hall meetings across the state, Coloradans have told me they want a plan that materially reduces the deficit. This proposal does not meet that standard and does not put in place a real process to reduce the debt down the road," Bennet said in a news release.

Bennet is the new head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which puts him in charge of winning Senate elections for his party in 2014.

Yet he was one of just three Democrats to oppose the deal, which passed 89-8 in the Senate.

The other two Democratic "no" votes were Delaware's Tom Carper and Iowa's Tom Harkin. Harkin opposed the deal because he thought it was too generous to wealthy people.

Two Senate Republicans with presidential ambitions also opposed the deal -- Florida's Marco Rubio and Kentucky's Rand Paul.

Meanwhile, Colorado's senior senator, Democrat Mark Udall, voted in favor of Obama's deal.

The bill includes a one-year extension of the wind production tax credit, a cause that Udall had championed in the Senate for months.

"This deal isn't perfect, and I agree with most Coloradans who dislike that Washington is making deals on the cliff's edge. But I do believe we needed to keep taxes low for the middle class and ensure that working families and seniors will not be hurt in 2013," Udall said in a prepared statement.

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