Pundits contend that Tuesday's passage of the bill to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff was in essence the Democrats' ratification of the tax cuts implemented by President George W. Bush in 2001 – at least for families making under $450,000 annually.
Dana Perino, who served as Bush's press secretary, told The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin on Wednesday that she doesn't believe Democrats can move away from the Bush tax cuts since they endorsed it in Tuesday's vote.
"Yes, the Bush tax cuts, which were demonized by Democrats for years as being only for the rich, were deemed critical to the country's middle class by the very Democrats who complained the loudest about – and voted against – them," wrote Perino in an email to Rubin. "When confronted with their hypocrisy, many Democrats just shrug it off as if listening to Charlie Brown's teacher. But deep down they know they lost the argument, and it will be impossible for them to ever go back on their new position." more >>
Tea Party Leaders are expressing outrage and disappointment over the House passing a bill late New Year's Day that allows President Obama and Congressional Democrats to raise taxes on wealthy Americans with no guarantee of future spending cuts.
"Sadly, our New Year's predictions have all come true," said Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots. "Congress and the president had all year to do their jobs and be fiscally responsible – and, just like we said they would, they waited until the last possible moment to fail their nation miserably with a 'fiscal cliff' scheme to raise taxes and keep overspending.
The issue for those who believe the nation has a spending problem and not a revenue problem suddenly became a nightmare when 85 Republicans in the House joined 172 of their Democrat colleagues in supporting the measure that was sent over in the wee hours of the morning on New Year's Day. more >>
The U.S. House of Representatives late Tuesday passed a bill, 257-167, to avoid the "fiscal cliff." President Barack Obama said he will sign the bill into law.
The bill passed with a majority of Democrats, 172-16, and a minority of Republicans, 85-151. It was negotiated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden and easily passed the Senate, 89-8, early Tuesday morning.
House leaders had originally said they would not have enough time to review the bill and vote on it by Tuesday. If the bill had not been voted on by Thursday at noon, though, they would have had to pass a new bill with the new Congress that would then be in session. more >>
The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill, 89 to 8, that would prevent the "fiscal cliff" from going into effect. The U.S. House of Representatives is meeting Tuesday at noon, but House leaders have not said when, or if, they will vote on the measure.
The compromise legislation was put together by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden.
"This shouldn't be the model for how we do things around here, but I think we can say we've done some good for the country," McConnell said on the Senate floor. more >>
An agreement has been reached between the White House and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to avoid the tax side of the "fiscal cliff," President Barack Obama announced Wednesday. He urged members of Congress to back the plan. Congress will not have time to vote on the plan tonight, before the fiscal cliff deadline, but votes could come later this week.
"An agreement to prevent this New Year's tax hike is in sight, but it is not done, there are still issues to resolve," Obama said.
The agreement would prevent taxes from going up on individuals making more than $400,000 and families making more than $450,000, extend unemployment benefits for a year, maintain the current child tax credit, tuition tax credit and clean energy tax credit, delay cuts to doctors who provide services for Medicare patients, and permanently fix the alternative minimum tax, which would otherwise impact many middle income families. more >>
An agreement appears to be coming together to avert the "fiscal cliff." While it would put off entitlement reform, it would give Republicans much of what they want on taxes. Republicans could still reject the plan even as liberals complain that Democrats are giving away too much.
The plan that appears to be coming together, according to Bloomberg's Joshua Green and New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait, would make the Bush-era tax cuts permanent for all taxable income below about $400,000 to $500,000 and increase the threshold and lower the rate for the estate tax. In return, Democrats would get an extension of unemployment benefits, a one year delay in planned cuts to doctors who provide services for Medicare patients, and a temporary fix to the alternative minimum tax to prevent tax increases on many middle income households.
In another concession to Republicans, an increase to the debt limit will not be part of the agreement. Republicans had tried to change how the cost-of-living allowance is calculated for Social Security as part of the deal, but Democrats rejected that idea. more >>