Fiscal Cliff Deal Done On New Year’s Day
Despite some republican objections in the House of Representatives, the US Congress has finally passed a bill to avoid the fiscal cliff here in the new year. The House of Representatives approved a measure on Tuesday that had passed the US Senate just after midnight on New Year’s Day.
The Associated Press reports that Minnesota’s two U.S. senators voted for what they called a compromise bill, aimed at avoiding across-the-board tax increases and sweeping spending cuts that would have been enacted otherwise. The Star Tribune reports that Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken both backed the measure
Franken, who is up for reelection next year, expressed reservations but praised the bill’s extension of tax cuts for the middle class and unemployment insurance. He says he was glad it doesn’t cut safety net programs.
Klobuchar also says the bill was worth supporting but that she wanted a more comprehensive mix of new revenue and spending cuts.
Wisconsin’s Democratic, Republican Senators both back bill as well. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that both Democrat Herb Kohl and Republican Ron Johnson backed the measure, which passed the Senate by 89-8.
Johnson told the AP that he wanted to extend tax cuts for all Americans but that he believed 99 percent of Wisconsin residents would not see a tax increase under the bill.
Kohl’s vote may be his last as a senator as his term ends in days. He did not release a statement.
The agreement was an effort to stave off the harshest and most immediate consequences of the fiscal cliff, and it finally passed the House 257 to 167 last night. President Barack Obama told the AP that he would sign the bill into law, but more battles are expected in Congress over spending.
The legislation takes steps toward resolving the combination of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that took effect at midnight on Jan. 1. It preserves tax rates as they were at the end of 2012, except for those individuals earning more than $400,000 and households earning over $450,000. It also allows taxes on capital gains and dividends to go up, and extends benefits of the unemployed.