Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, walks with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., following a closed-door GOP meeting as the “fiscal cliff” bill passed by the Senate Monday night waits for a vote in the Republican-controlled House, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Weary lawmakers pushed at last toward a final vote on emergency legislation to avoid a national “fiscal cliff” of major tax increases and spending cuts in a New Year’s Night culmination of a struggle that tested divided government to the limit.
Passage would send the measure to President Barack Obama for his signature and hand him a political triumph less than two months after he secured re-election while campaigning for higher taxes on the wealthy. The extraordinary late-night House vote was coming nearly 24 hours after Senate action spilled over from New Year’s Eve into the pre-dawn hours of 2013.
In addition to neutralizing middle class tax increases and spending cuts that technically took effect Monday at midnight, the legislation raises tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples. Remarkably, in a party that swore off tax increases two decades ago, dozens of Republicans supported the bill at both ends of the Capitol.
Republicans did their best to minimize the tax increases in the measure.
Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., in the final days of a 32-year-career in Congress, said the legislation was “not the grand bargain we’d hoped for” to reduce federal deficits. “But it is an essential bridge to what I hope will be a comprehensive and long-term solution. It will bring us back from the edge of the fiscal cliff and implement tax cuts for 99% of taxpayers.”
Declared Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio: “This is a great victory for the middle class, whose taxes will not go up tomorrow.”
The bill would also prevent an expiration of extended unemployment benefits for an estimated two million jobless, block a Login to read more