House Passes Senate Cliff Bill! – More Stimulus For Green Companies!

January 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

FiscalThe House gave its approval Tuesday night to the Senate bill halting massive  tax hikes and delaying a risky round of spending cuts, sending the package to  the president’s desk and likely averting for now an economy-stalling fiscal  crisis.

The 257-167vote came after a day of high drama on Capitol Hill,  during which conservative House lawmakers voiced serious concern about the  Senate bill’s lack of spending cuts.

Rank-and-file Republicans initially predicted they would tinker with  the package, raising the possibility the Senate would abandon it and nothing  would get done before the new congressional class is seated Thursday.

But House leaders soon learned they did not have a majority behind any  spending-cut plan, and allowed the straight vote. More Democrats supported the  bill than Republicans.

The result, once Obama signs it, is that tax hikes that technically kicked in  Jan. 1 for most Americans would largely be halted.

The bill would nix the tax increases for families making under $450,000,  while letting rates rise for those making above that threshold. It would also  extend unemployment insurance for another year, while patching up a host of  other expiring provisions and delaying automatic spending cuts for two months.  Those cuts, which would hit defense heavily, will instead be offset with a blend  of tax increases and other spending cuts.

Americans will still see a 2-point increase this month in their Social  Security tax, as Congress did not opt to extend that payroll tax holiday.

The House was able to shoehorn in the vote before the markets open Wednesday.  Uncertainty about a deal threatened to wreak havoc on Wall Street. And  economists warned that any prolonged stalemate into 2013 threatened to pull the  broader economy back into a recession. In total, more than $600 billion in tax  hikes and spending cuts were set to take effect this year.

The vote Tuesday came amid rising pressure from House Democrats and the  Senate side, which approved the bill early Tuesday morning. Democrats made clear  that they would pin the blame squarely on House Republicans if the tax hikes  were not averted.

“This is the House’s wisdom in making the best of a bad situation,” one House  GOP leadership aide told Fox News. “We had a bad hand from the start, but we’re  avoiding being blamed for taking us off the cliff.”

Still, a number of House Republicans came out against the package, including  No. 2 House Republican, Eric Cantor.

“I do not support it,” Cantor told reporters after a closed-door meeting with  fellow Republicans.

Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, said earlier that the sentiment among House  Republicans was to amend the bill to incorporate more spending cuts. Rep.  Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., echoed the statement.

But other Republicans, while voicing opposition to the bill, acknowledged  that it could pass the House.

Congress already missed the New Year’s Eve deadline for action, which  technically triggered tax hikes. Without a resolution soon, taxes would have  jumped by $2,400 on average for families with incomes of $50,000 to $75,000,  according to a study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. And because consumers  would get less of their paychecks to spend, businesses and jobs would suffer as  well.

House conservatives had begun voicing frustration Monday night about the  lopsided ratio of tax increases in the plan, as compared with net spending cuts.  The bill contained roughly $620 billion in tax hikes, and just a fraction of  that in spending cuts. As one House Republican told Fox News, “I can’t imagine a  ratio such as that warming our fiscal hearts.”

Not all Democrats were on board either. Many voiced frustration that tax  hikes would only affect those making above $450,000 – when President Obama  originally campaigned on raising them for households making above $250,000.

“Looks like a very bad deal the way this is shaping up,” Sen. Tom Harkin,  D-Iowa, said Monday. Harkin voted against the Senate bill early Tuesday morning,  as did Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Rand Paul, R-Ky.;   Richard Shelby, R-Ala.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; and  Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

The fiscal deal, though, still pushes off a permanent decision on the  spending cuts until two months down the road, when lawmakers could find  themselves in a similar position. And lawmakers are poised to renew a fight in a  matter of weeks over raising the debt ceiling – which the U.S. government would  have hit Dec. 31 if not for the Treasury Department taking emergency  measures.

Fox News’ Ed Henry, Chad Pergram and Mike Emanuel contributed to this  report.

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