House Approves Fiscal Bill to Avert Economic Crisis
On Tuesday evening, Congress gave final approval to a bill that will halt massive tax hikes as well as delay a risky round of spending cuts. The package is now being sent to the president's desk, and will likely avert, for now, a fiscal crisis that would stall the economy.
President Barack Obama has said that he would signed the bill that was approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The bill was approved in a 257-167 vote.
Conservatives in the House expressed serious concern about the Senate bill's lack of spending cuts, with some predicting that they would tinker with the package. This then would raise the possibility that the Senate would abandon it, and nothing would be accomplished before the congressional class is seated on Thursday. House leaders soon learned that they didn't have a majority behind any spending cut plan, and allowed a straight vote to happen.
Many more Democrats supported the final bill than Republicans. Twice as many Democrats supported the bill as Republicans, with 172 Democrats in favor, compared to 85 Republicans.
Once signed by President Obama, the tax hikes that kicked in on January 1 for the majority of Americans would be largely halted.
Speaking at the White House shortly after midnight, President Obama thanked Vice President Joe Biden for his role in negotiating with the Senate one day prior on the compromise package.
The bill would nix the 2013 tax increases for families making under $450,000 while letting rates rise for those making above that threshold. It would also extend unemployment insurance for another year, and would patch a number of expiring provisions and delaying automatic spending cuts for two months.
The cuts will be offset with a blend of tax increases and other spending cuts. Americans will see a 2-point increase this month in their Social Security tax because Congress did not opt to extend the payroll holiday tax.