The House of Representatives voted Tuesday night to approve a Senate bill to avert a feared fiscal cliff.
The measure that sought to maintain tax cuts for most Americans but increase rates on the wealthy passed the Democratic-led Senate overwhelmingly early in the day.
There was discussion about amending the Senate bill by adding spending cuts, but in the end, House lawmakers voted on the bill as written — a so-called up or down vote.
The legislation would raise roughly $600 billion in new revenues over 10 years, according to various estimates.
“I’d say let’s take the Senate deal, fight another day,” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, told CNN before the House vote. He predicted the House would pass the bill with a “pretty strong bipartisan majority.”
“I’m a very reluctant yes,” said Rep. Nan Hayworth, an outgoing Republican representative from New York.
“This is the best we can do given the Senate and the White House sentiment at this point in time, and it is at least a partial victory for the American people,” she said. “I’ll take that at this point.”
The timing of the vote was crucial, as a new Congress is set to be sworn in Thursday.
The legislation averted much of the fiscal cliff’s negative near-term economic impact by extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the majority of Americans. It also extends long-term unemployment benefits that were set to expire.
Read the rest here.
Sen. Rand Paul made an excellent argument against the bill, however, his argument did not prevail.
The President wasted no time touting his victory, as you can see in the video below.
From ABC News.
Minutes after the House of Representatives approved a bipartisan Senate deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” and preserve Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans making less than $400,000 per year, President Obama praised party leaders and wasted little time turning to the next fiscal fight.
“This is one step in the broader effort to strengthen our economy for everybody,” Obama said.
Obama lamented that earlier attempts at a much larger fiscal deal that would have cut spending and dealt with entitlement reforms failed. He said he hoped future debates would be done with “a little less drama, a little less brinksmanship, and not scare folks quite as much.”
But Obama drew a line in the sand on the debt ceiling, which is set to be reached by March.
“While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether they should pay the bills for what they’ve racked up,” Obama said. “We can’t not pay bills that we’ve already incurred.”
An hour after his remarks, Obama boarded Air Force One to rejoin his family in Hawaii, where they have been since before Christmas.
Well, I’m glad he gets to go back to his vacation while the rest of us pick up the pieces of this mess. Hey, we still have something to be happy about: Congress isn’t increasing it’s own pay… this time, anyway.
From Channel 9 News.
The Senate deal passed early Tuesday morning to avert the so-called fiscal cliff also includes a provision killing a scheduled pay raise for members of Congress, according to Roll Call News.
The one-sentence provision would block a pay raise brought by President Barack Obama’s executive order to lift the pay freeze for all federal employees. That would include the vice president and members of Congress.
The provision blocking the pay raise for Congress is not widely known. Many lawmakers introduced their own bills to kill the pay raise, including Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner.
Federal civilian employees have not seen a cost-of-living increase in nearly two years.