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Political pop quiz: What do Paul Ryan, Jim Matheson have in common?

Here’s a pop quiz for all you political wonks out there:

Which Utah Congressman has co-sponsored half of all of the bills sponsored by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (now, of course, Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick) that became law.

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Give it some thought. Rep. Jason Chaffetz might seem to be the obvious choice, right? He serves on the House Budget Committee with Ryan and even occasionally hits the House gym when the fitness freak Ryan is doing his P90X workouts

Is that your guess?

Wrong.

The correct answer is Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson.

Matheson co-sponsored H.R. 5394, "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the taxation of arrow components," which was introduced in November 2004 and became law about a month later.

The backstory, as reported by a plucky, young Washington scribe (me) was this: Easton Archery was threatening to move its arrow assembly operation overseas, which would potentially cost 450 employees their jobs.

Easton was importing its arrow components and assembling them in the United States, but had to pay a 12.4 percent tax on the parts. Competitors who were assembling arrows outside the United States didn’t pay anything, putting Easton at a disadvantage and prompting the company to look at moving to Mexico or elsewhere.

The bill, sponsored by Ryan and co-sponsored by Matheson, made it through the Congress after six years of work and was signed into law by President George W. Bush.

It was one of two bills that Ryan has passed as a member of Congress — the other being the naming of a post office — meaning Matheson has been more successful than any other member of the Utah delegation or any member of Congress not from Wisconsin, for that matter, in teaming up with Ryan to get bills passed.

Of course none of this changes the fact that Ryan has endorsed Matheson's opponent, Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, in the November election.

-- Robert Gehrke

Twitter: @RobertGehrke



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