Crisis averted: House passes budget deal, Obama to sign bill
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Crisis averted: House passes budget deal, Obama to sign bill

Washington : DC : USA | Dec 31, 2012 at 7:10 PM PST
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell talks with reporters

UPDATED at 11:10 p.m. EST

After 518 days of wrangling on Capitol Hill, the House finally passed a budget deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff late Tuesday night, with a vote of 257 in favor and 167 opposed. Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are being called key players in securing the final deal.

President Obama is scheduled to speak momentarily.

UPDATED at 8:40 p.m. EST

CNN is reporting that House Republicans have dropped plans to amend the Senate fiscal cliff deal and will vote on the meaure on Tuesday night. After a second caucus meeting on New Year's Day, they have decided to pursue an up or down vote on the House floor instead, scheduled for approximately 9 p.m. EST.

UPDATED at 5:20 p.m. EST

The largely bipartisan fiscal cliff deal reached and passed in the Senate early New Year's Day might now be in jeopardy.Getting the nod with a resounding 89-8 vote, the measure did not have such luck in the House later in the day. In a rare News Year's Day session, House members met around 1 p.m. to work on the deal, but Republicans are reportedly balking at OKing the measure. A vote was postponed and some Republicans say they may have to amend the bill to add spending cuts, then send it back to the senate.

Due to this split among GOP leaders, the House is due to meet again later in the day to attempt a second meeting of the minds.

California Rep. Darrell Issa, speaking on CNN late Tuesday, said he supports House Majority Leader Rep Eric Cantor in opposing the fiscal measure. Those opposing say the lack of spending cuts are unacceptable.

Scroll down for my earlier reports.

UPDATES

According to the Associated Press, the Senate has approved a fiscal deal to avoid across-the-board tax increases on all Americans. The vote, which came way past the midnight hour of the new year, was a resounding 89-8. However, this does not mean we have finally backed away from the cliff, for a majority House vote is also needed. This is reportedly expected to take place as early as Wednesday.

The measure proposed out will raise taxes on those individuals making $400,000 and up and couples making $450,000 and over. Also included in the deal:

- Spending cuts are blocked for two months.

- Unemployment benefits are extended for the long-term unemployed.

- Prevents a 27 percent cut in fees for Medicare doctors.

- Prevents that much talked about hike in milk cost.

- Prevents an automatic $900 raise in annual pay for Congress that was set to kick in this March.

Scroll down for my earlier report.

After several reports of no deal being reached on Monday, a Democratic aide has stated that a fiscal cliff deal was reached late on New Year’s Eve, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

CNN television also is saying that the White House and congressional Republicans have finally hashed out an agreement to avert the much-feared fiscal cliff. Tax increases would have automatically gone into effect across the board, as well as drastic cuts to social programs and the military, on Jan. 1 if lawmakers hadn’t come to an agreement. The U.S. credit rating would also have been down-graded.

Part of the deal is a compromise by the president on his $250,000 cut off for extending the Bush-era tax cuts. The new benchmark income is families earning $450,000 and less, while those beyond will see their taxes return to President Bill Clinton like rates. Captial gains and dividends will be taxed at 20 percent, while the estate tax will move to 40 percent for inheritances over $5 million.

Though these new tax rates will reportedly bring in over $600 billion in revenue, Democrats are said to be deeply disappointed at the compromise.

The aide was speaking anonymously because the deal has not been officially announced.

According to MarketWatch, the deal does nothing to address the debt ceiling but extends unemployment benefits, delay spending cuts across the board and raise taxes on the wealthy. It would also let a 2 percent payroll tax lapse.

The House of Representatives have already adjourned for Monday, so the economy will go over the cliff—at least temporarily. They are due back for a rare New Year’s Day session on Tuesday. The new deal must be approved by both chambers of Congress and may reportedly go up for a vote in the Senate by Monday.

Earlier in the day, President Obama had said that they were optimistically close to a deal, while Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell had called for an immediate vote on taxes.

Opinion

We know our politicians love the spotlight (why else would they engage in their endless shenanigans) and the media has certainly fed that attention—catering to them with wall to wall coverage. So as they duel with the awkwardly riveting New Year’s Eve rocking party coverage on CNN with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin, let’s see if the fiscal deal announcement will be made official.

(On a different cliff, why would CNN insist on pairing this odd couple every New Year's Eve? Poor "AC360" host Cooper is obviously out of his element with his co-host, raunchy comedian Griffin, if his incessant nervous girly laughter is any indication). Just saying.

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US Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell
US Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell
VeronicaS is based in New York City, New York, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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