MILWAUKEE (AP) - Republican Rep. Reid Ribble was the only member of Wisconsin's congressional delegation not to vote along party lines on a deal to reopen the government.
All three Democratic House members and Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin voted yes on Wednesday's deal, which extends the debt limit and avoids a threatened national default. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson voted no, as did Rep. Paul Ryan and three other GOP congressmen.
But Ribble sided with Democrats. He said there were parts of the bill he opposed, but he was willing to give Congress a chance to work on a proper budget without a looming threat of default.
"I have chosen to give the Congress a 90-day opportunity to actually work within a framework to budget and appropriate funds in regular order and end the nonsense of continuing resolutions," he said in a statement.
Among other things, the legislation would fund the government through Jan. 15, and award back pay to more than 2 million federal workers, whether they had been furloughed or remained on the job.
Rep. Ron Kind, a Democrat from La Crosse, said the deal allows the government to get back to serving the American people, and it ensures the country can pay its bills.
"Congress has to stop acting as a road block to economic growth and more as a partner to the private sector," he said.
But Johnson criticized the legislation as fiscally irresponsible. He said Democratic leaders have shown they're more than willing to pass the country's debt burden to future generations rather than enact real financial reforms.
The congressional deal includes a provision that turns over negotiations on a long-term budget agreement to a committee Ryan is expected to co-chair, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Ryan, who voted against the proposal, said the legislation represented a "missed opportunity" to help draw down the national debt.
"I hope both sides will work together in the months ahead to pay down the debt, provide relief for families, and grow the economy," he said.
Baldwin and Johnson were appointed Thursday to serve on the committee as well.
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