Wisconsin legislators arrive in DC for fiscal cliff talks

GREEN BAY — As the fiscal cliff deadline approaches, some of Wisconsin's elected officials in Washington, D.C. feel confident a deal may be reached.

"Having talked to Senator McConnell after his meeting at the White House, he came away from that meeting saying this is the first time he's entered serious discussion with this White House,” Republican Senator Ron Johnson told FOX 11 News in a phone interview.

Johnson added feedback from voters is divided: Some don't want any new taxes, even for the wealthiest Americans, while others just want a compromise.

"We have counted all of the phone calls, and emails and letters we've received about this whole fiscal cliff issue. In total, it's about 10,000, which is relatively high,” he said.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate said they've had a huge response from people in Wisconsin about the fiscal cliff. But if you're trying to call your congressman right now, you could have trouble getting through.

FOX 11 phoned the general line at Republican Congressman Reid Ribble’s D.C. office Sunday. The voicemail box was full of messages. So full, you couldn't leave one.

"I’m really glad to hear from everybody, and so the fact there is interest is a positive sign,” said the congressman later in the day.

Ribble spoke with FOX 11 by phone shortly after arriving in D.C. Sunday afternoon. He says he's not budging on certain aspects of a deal.

“I've said all along that it needs to include everything. It needs to include revenue, it needs to include entitlement reform,” he said.

Local Democratic Party organizers said they hope congressional Republicans can put aside partisan politics.

“I just wish that the Republicans would get back to Washington, do their job, and let their people vote. I'd hate to see us fall back into a recession,” said Bob Kiefert, a member of the Brown County Democratic Party.

Political analysts said the government will stay afloat for a short time if Congress can't find a short-term solution. But, they added finding a compromise would still be best for the economy.

“It's the small band-aid to get some small solutions done, and then really hammer out negotiations where more of the members of Congress are involved in this, and they know what they're voting on, and they can take that back to the constituents in good faith,” said Charley Jacobs, a political science professor at St. Norbert College in De Pere.

Meanwhile, the clock is still ticking in Washington.

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Wisconsin (change)

 
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wisconsin’s population totaled 5,686,986, a 6.0% increase over the 2000 U.S. Census count of 5,363,715. (Source: Wisconsin Blue Book)
 
Offices & Officials

Governor: Scott Walker
Lieutenant Governor: Rebecca Kleefisch
Attorney General: J.B. Van Hollen

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