Sen. Johnson Optimistic After Fiscal Cliff Deal

[Washington] Although many fiscal conservatives felt betrayed after members of the “tea party caucus” in Congress voted for a fiscal cliff deal that increased the deficit by $3.5 trillion and raises taxes by $620 billion over ten years, Senator Ron Johnson told the MacIver News Service the deal left Republicans in a strong position on Capitol Hill.

Johnson pointed out that as of midnight on New Year’s Day, taxes increased for all Americans. The deal limited the damage to those making more than $400,000.

“I didn’t vote to increase anybody’s taxes. What I voted for was to prevent 98 to 99 percent of Americans having their taxes automatically increased,” he said.

Johnson said Republicans didn’t have many options going into the debate and got the best deal they could.

“Unfortunately we lost the November 6th election and President Obama made it loud and clear that he was demanding tax increases. We were in a position where we had no negotiating leverage whatsoever. So our role was, what can we do to limit the damage?” Johnson told MNS.

Johnson said the ball is now in the president’s court when it comes to solving the deficit.

“So, you got the revenue side of that balanced equation. Where’s the other side of that. What are your plans to address the other 95 percent of the deficit?” he said.

The next big fiscal crisis in Washington will be over raising the debt ceiling limit. The limit was already reached last month, and the government is currently implementing emergency spending measures.

Johnson hopes that upcoming debate will help raise public awareness of the nation’s fiscal situation so that “they start demanding real solutions.”