House Approves Bill To Avoid Fiscal Cliff
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – The bill to avert a fiscal cliff has won approval by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Legislation to block the “fiscal cliff” is headed to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature. The bill will avoid, for now, the major tax increases and government spending cuts that had been scheduled to take effect with the new year.
“A central promise of my campaign for president was to change the tax code that was too skewed towards the wealthy at the expense of working middle-class Americans,” Obama said at the White House before flying to Hawaii to resume his holiday break. “Tonight we’ve done that.”
Final approval came in the House on New Year’s Night. The vote was 257 to 167. According to CBS News, 85 of the votes for the bill came from Republicans, and 16 votes of opposition came from Democrats.
“The American people told us in the election they wanted us to work together,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was quoted as saying on the House floor. “They have their differences, too; they understand disagreement. They also understand compromise.”
She added, “[T]hat is what this legislation represents … While this bill doesn’t do all that we need to do … it is a good way for us to have a happy start to a new year.”
The Senate passed the bill less than 24 hours earlier.
The measure raises tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples, a victory for Obama.
It also extends expiring unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, prevents a cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and cancels a $900 pay increase due to lawmakers in March. Congressional pay freezes were also included in the approved deal, CBS News is reporting.
Another provision is designed to prevent a spike in milk prices – a potential consequence referred to as the “milk cliff.”
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