July 24, 2016

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Medina County U.S. reps vote no on ‘fiscal cliff’ deal

Both congressmen who will represent Medina County in the new Congress voted against the bill aimed at avoiding a “fiscal cliff” of middle-class tax hikes and across-the-board spending cuts.

The House of Representatives passed the bill late Tuesday in a 257-167 vote.

Jim Renacci

James Renacci, R-Wadsworth, said he voted against the measure because it is too costly and does nothing to reduce spending.

“It continues the Washington traditions of kicking the can down the road and putting off hard decisions about how we must change the way the federal government spends our money,” Renacci said in a statement. “Those decisions need to be made. Now was the time to do it and the opportunity has been wasted by both parties.”

Robert Gibbs, R-Lakeville, said he supported keeping taxes low, but couldn’t support the legislation put before him.

“There certainly are some components of the bill with which I agree, including provisions for which I have voted to support throughout the past two years,” Gibbs said in a statement. “I always supported extending the 2012 tax rates for all income levels, as well as repealing the death tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax.”

The bill extended tax cuts, approved during President George W. Bush’s first term, for individuals with incomes of $400,000 and less and couple making $450,000 — higher thresholds than the $200,000 and $250,000 for which President Barack Obama campaigned.

In addition to increasing the top rate to 39.6 percent for the highest income earners — up from 35 percent now — the bill established a top rate of 40 percent on estates, with the first $5 million in value exempt for individual estates and $10 million for family estates.

The legislation also extended unemployment benefits for one year and provides a five-year extension of the child tax credit, earned income and college tuition tax credits.

The Senate approved the measure on a vote of 89-8 less than 24 hours before the House voted, with the support of Ohio senators Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, and Rob Portman, a Republican.

The measure split the upper ranks of the Republican leadership in the House.

Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester, voted in favor, while Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and California U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the party’s whip, opposed the bill.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the party’s 2012 vice presidential candidate, supported the measure.

In addition to Boehner, five other Ohio Republicans voted for the bill: Bill Johnson, Steve LaTourette, Robert Latta, Steve Stivers and Pat Tiberi.

Renacci and Gibbs joined the remaining GOP representatives — Steve Austria, Steve Chabot, Jim Jordan, Jean Schmidt and Michael Turner — in voting no.

Betty Sutton, D-Copley Township, who represents the 13th district including the northern part of Medina County, voted with the other four Ohio Democrats, Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich and Tim Ryan, in supporting the measure.

Renacci defeated Sutton in the Nov. 6 election to retain his seat in the redrawn 16th District, which will cover the eastern portion of Medina County, including the cities of Brunswick, Medina and Wadsworth.

Before the House was reapportioned after the 2010 census, almost the entire county was part of the 16th District.

Gibbs will represent the western portion of the county as part of the redrawn 7th District when the new Congress begins today. He previously held the 18th District seat.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.