Fiscal Cliff Averted: House Passes Late-Night Bill
Obama says it's just 'one step' toward stronger economy
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 1, 2013 7:42 PM CST
Updated Jan 1, 2013 10:31 PM CST
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, with Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, enters a second Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.    (Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – A weary Congress sent President Obama legislation to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of middle-class tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts late tonight, hours before financial markets reopen after the New Year's holiday. The bill's passage on a 257-167 vote in the House sealed a hard-won political triumph for the president less than two months after he secured re-election while calling for higher taxes on the wealthy. "Thanks to the votes of Republicans and Democrats in Congress, I will sign a law that raises taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans while preventing tax hikes that could have sent the economy back into recession," Obama said minutes after the vote passed. He spoke with Joe Biden at his side, a recognition of the VP's role as the lead Democratic negotiator in final talks with Mitch McConnell.

In addition to neutralizing middle-class tax increases and spending cuts taking effect with the new year, the legislation will raise tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples. That was higher than the thresholds of $200,000 and $250,000 that Obama had sought. But remarkably, in a party that swore off tax increases two decades ago, dozens of Republicans supported the bill at both ends of the Capitol. The Senate approved the measure on a vote of 89-8 less than 24 hours earlier, and in the interim, rebellious House conservatives demanded a vote to add significant spending cuts to the measure. But in the end they retreated.

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Jan 4, 2013 3:18 AM CST
For all those who want to cut spending and waste, there is one and only one thing we can cut and that is the military. Social programs? We are already have the weakest safety net in the first world. We are the only first world nation with kids dying because they can't get medical care. The only nation without maternity leave. We have millions of hungry children. We've got people earning minimum wage and living in homeless shelters. We have 11 aircraft carriers and no other nation has 2. We run entire cities in Germany, Japan and Seoul.
Jan 2, 2013 12:11 PM CST
Does anyone know, from a reliable source, if the tax provisions are automatically tied to the upcoming spending cut proposals, or are stand alone?
Jan 2, 2013 8:03 AM CST
The deadline the government created. The catch phrase the media created. The disaster we were all supposed to dread. Did they cut government spending ? Did they lower the taxes rather than threaten to raise them ? Just scare the people into thinking things could be much worse so they'll be satisfied with the existing miserable state of affairs. In the end , the taxes went up a small amout on the rich , which they expected anyway. What a bunch crap about nothing. I hope everybody is wiping their brow. Whsssh , that was close. Hurrah , thumbs up, the waste survives.