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Wisconsin U.S. House members split in passage of "no budget, no pay" bill


WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - Wisconsin members split 4-4 Wednesday, when the House voted overwhelmingly to suspend the federal debt ceiling until May 19th and borrow enough until then to avoid a government default.

Majority Republicans backed away from previous demands to increase the debt limit only when equal amounts of spending cuts are made.

Republicans Tom Petri of Fond du Lac and Jim Sensenbrenner of Menomonee Falls voted against that, as did Democrats Gwen Moore of Milwaukee and Mark Pocan of Madison.

La Crosse Democrat Ron Kind voted in favor of raising the debt ceiling, as did Republicans Paul Ryan of Janesville, Reid Ribble of Sherwood, and Sean Duffy of Weston. The total vote was a bi-partisan 285-144.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said his Democratically-controlled chamber would immediately pass the legislation – and President Obama said Wednesday afternoon he would sign it. 

The package also includes a “no budget, no pay” provision in which salaries are withheld when the House or Senate fails to pass a budget plan. The Senate has not passed one in four years, but they say they’ll act on a budget this time.

Ryan, the House Budget chairman, says the provision encourages Congress to do its job. He said the debt ceiling was temporarily lifted so Congress can have the debate it needs to have over taxes, spending, and the federal deficits.

For now, a borrowing cap of $16.4 trillion would be lifted.