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Local delegations split on cliff vote

JACKSON (AP) — All three Republicans in Mississippi’s House delegation voted against legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff, while the state’s only Democrat representative voted for it.

In Louisiana, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican Sen. David Vitter supported the legislation, but most of the state’s U.S. House delegation opposed it.

Mississippi Republican U.S. Reps. Gregg Harper, Alan Nunnelee and Steven Palazzo cast no votes, while Democrat Bennie Thompson voted for the legislation that passed 257-167 Tuesday.

Nunnelee said in a statement after the vote that out-of-control spending is the reason the country is $16 trillion in debt and the deal adds to the problem.

“Allowing more revenue today and promising to look at cutting spending down the road is the oldest trick in the Washington book. Somehow, the day to cut spending never comes. I cannot support a deal that adds to our spending-driven debt crisis,” he said.

The measure passed the Senate 89-8 earlier Tuesday, with Mississippi Republican Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker voting yes.

Cochran and Wicker called the plan imperfect, but said it would help prevent a tax increase for most Americans.

“There is still work left to do,” Wicker said in a statement. “Congress and the president must reduce the federal deficit.”

Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond and Republican Rep. Rodney Alexander voted for the bill sent to President Obama, amid concerns that without a deal, the tax increases and spending cuts could send the nation’s economy back into recession.

Louisiana’s five other GOP House members — Reps. Charles Boustany, Bill Cassidy, John Fleming, Jeff Landry and Steve Scalise — voted against it.

Critics disagreed with allowing some tax increases and said the legislation didn’t cut spending to help shrink the federal deficit.