Peterson calls fiscal cliff deal 'a joke'; Kline takes heat for backing it


Political and economic reaction is coming in now that Congress has steered the country away from the fiscal cliff.

Minnesota's Congressional delegation voted along party lines with two exceptions. Democrat Collin Peterson of the Seventh District voted against the bill. Peterson tells the Associated Press the measure that Congress approved is "a joke" that not only fails to reduce the federal deficit, but will add an estimated $4 trillion to the national debt. Peterson says the bill sends the message that Americans are not willing to pay their bills, something he does not believe is true.

On the Republican side of the aisle, Second District Rep. John Kline voted in favor of the bill. Kline says it contains the largest tax cut in American history and provides relief for small businesses and middle class families. That's already fueled some backlash from conservatives. One group called called Kline's vote inexplicable and disappointing and suggested in could engender a primary challenge in 2014.

As for the dollars and cents of the deal, accountants tell Finance & Commerce a number of tax credits extended by the bill will save businesses tens of thousands of dollars. A tax break on equipment purchases that was originally part of the economic stimulus package is now extended through next year. Credits for research and development, hiring low-income workers, and building affordable housing also gained new life.

In the medical world, doctors are happy that the bill fended off a 26 percent cut in the reimbursements they get from Medicare. But the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports hospitals are upset that they will pay much of the cost of preventing that cut.

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