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US Lawmakers Approve Fiscal Cliff Deal

US Lawmakers Approve Fiscal Cliff Deali
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January 02, 2013 12:43 PM
After a dramatic day of unexpected twists and turns, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Senate compromise bill to avert massive tax increases and severe cuts to government spending known as the fiscal cliff. And President Obama said would sign the compromise. Earlier in the day, the outcome seemed in doubt, when House Republicans complained bitterly about the need for more cuts to government spending. VOA congressional correspondent Cindy Saine reports from Capitol Hill.

US Lawmakers Approve Fiscal Cliff Deal

Cindy Saine
After a dramatic day of unexpected twists and turns, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Senate compromise bill to avert massive tax increases and severe cuts to government spending known as the fiscal cliff.

Earlier in the day, passage of the measure seemed in doubt, when House Republicans complained bitterly about the need for more cuts to government spending.  President Obama welcomed the last minute reprieve from the cliff.

After almost two years of wrangling between Republicans and Democrats on the level of taxes Americans should pay and the size of cuts to government spending, the House and Senate have both passed a compromise agreement to pull the country back from the edge of the fiscal cliff.

Read President Obama's statement

President Obama welcomed the last minute action by Congress before financial markets re-open after the New Year's Day holiday.

"Thanks to the votes of Democrats and Republicans in Congress, I will sign a law that raises taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Americans, while preventing a middle-class tax hike that could have sent the economy back into recession," he said.

The president did warn Congress, however, that he was not prepared to engage in a similar brinksmanship battle over the debt ceiling, set to expire within the next several months.

Obama spoke just moments after the House, by a vote of 257-167, approved a compromise bill hammered out between Senate leaders and Vice President Joe Biden, following a day of fierce protest by House Republicans.

Democrats, who are in the minority in the House, voted in strong numbers to give the bill enough votes to pass.  Democratic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said "With 37-and-a-half hours left to go in the 112th Congress, we will display to all of our constituents that yes, in the final analysis, we have the ability to come together - to act, not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans."

The top Republican leaders did not come to the floor to speak on the bill, but Republican Congressman Dave Camp said Democrats had finally agreed to support Bush-era tax cuts they had long opposed.

"Republicans and the American people are getting something really important, permanent tax relief," he said.

Earlier in the day, the entire fiscal cliff package seemed on the verge of collapse as House Republicans strongly objected to a lack of spending cuts in the Senate bill, and threatened to try to amend it, which would have likely thrown the whole process into chaos. 

Late in the evening, House Republicans agreed to bring the Senate measure up for a vote.  House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi conceded the bill does not contain everything everyone wanted.

"But this is a very, very strong first step as we go into the New Year," she said.

Taxpaying Americans and financial markets around the globe are also likely to welcome the passing and signing of the bill as a good start to the new year, even though it came at the last minute.  On Thursday, the newly-elected 113th Congress will be sworn in, and lawmakers will have to start from the beginning on all legislation.

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by: soshaljustic from: NV
January 01, 2013 11:15 PM
The vote was 257 to 167, with 85 Republicans joining with nearly all of the chamber’s Democrats-not wholly bipartisan-but passed.


by: behonest
January 01, 2013 6:02 PM
The Fiscal Cliff is a manufactured crisis by the corrupt Media and politicians run by the elites. The real financial crisis is the Derivative bubble and the Dollar bubble. The retirement money in the markets that will disappear when the next "unforeseen" meltdown happens is what they really want. The elites already took out the Real Estate market. Where did that money go? It went somewhere....

In Response

by: Anonymous
January 05, 2013 6:56 AM
I'm from china.Months ago,NEW YORK TIMES and Bloomberg News published a news about chinese premier WEN's and CPC new leader XI's private financial informations respectively.The websites of this two news agency are blocked in china.I can not read them.But I am very interested.Can anybody send this two articles to me?My e-mail address is debris_zheng@hotmail.com.TKS!

In Response

by: ddmm from: seattle
January 02, 2013 12:32 AM
Don't you guy's ever get tired of making predictions that never come true? Can any of you dig up just one predicted outcome made by Cons in the past 10 or 20 years that ever came close to being true? Freaking people out to get them to buy gold is about the only thing your predictions are good for.


by: don schaefer from: palm desert ca.
January 01, 2013 5:01 PM
Sure; vote on before you read it--a Nancy Pelosi tradition--look where that led us the last time we listened to a politician who was in a hurry...no thanks..read it, understand it, and then do the peoples business and if it doesn't do what the "peoples house" think it should send it back..


by: Montana Libertarian from: Rural West
January 01, 2013 3:20 PM
This whole revenue negotiation was a waste of time. We do not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. The top 1% of earners already pay 34% of the income taxes collected. The bottom 47% pay nothing. That kind of redistributive scheme is dishonest and corrupting.

Bush put two wars on the credit card. Obama, however, has been even more profligate, doubling on his watch the national debt accumulated by all of his predecessors combined. He's on track to double it again in his second term.

There's plenty of blame for Bush and Obama both, plus enough left over to disgrace both congressional parties.

We are borrowing 43 cents of every dollar we spend. That is a recipe for a real disaster, for our kids and grandkids if it doesn't strike sooner. Cutting spending drastically is the only solution.

In Response

by: Repub SameasDems
January 02, 2013 7:36 AM
"We are borrowing 43 cents of every dollar we spend.... "

Everyone needs to understand this... This isn't about political nonsense, this is a financial reality. If we stay on this current path (which we know about but continue to do nothing) the interest payment will reach 1 trillion in 10 years. The interest payment will exceed total revenue by 2050. So in less than 40 years we will see the USA economy collapse.


by: emenot from: Hong Kong
January 01, 2013 2:23 PM
Our education system needs help, its problem will go away with serious expulsion of all illegals! Our country was strong before we allow our borders to be invaded, damn the liberals!


by: emenot from: Hong Kong
January 01, 2013 2:19 PM
I am insolvent but for America to survive our country need to reset with this "Fiscal Cliff", the Dems and Biden the puppet master of Obama(BAMBAM) is killing us with his spending!


by: Anonymous
January 01, 2013 2:10 PM
obama and U.S. deserve support

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