In a dramatic, last minute vote of 89-9, the Senate approved a deal that would postpone the worst of the consequences of the fiscal cliff, at least temporarily. Across the board spending cuts and tax increases were averted by the deal put together after a long negotiation process between the White House and Senate Republicans.
Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. led the difficult negotiations. Both hailed the agreement as “imperfect,” but necessary.
“The president wanted tax increases, but thanks to this imperfect agreement, 99 percent of my constituents won’t be hit by those hikes,” McConnell said.
Fox News reports:
Under the proposal, current tax rates would be extended for everyone except families making above $450,000 — up from President Obama’s earlier threshold of $250,000. The bill would also extend long-term jobless benefits for a year and address other expiring provisions like the estate tax.
The late-night deal ironed out the last major sticking point between the two sides — what to do about the $110 billion in automatic spending cuts set to kick in starting in January.
Officials said the two sides agreed to postpone the cuts by two months, in exchange for a 50-50 mix of revenue increases and spending cuts. Of those cuts, half would come from defense and half would come from other budgets.
Since the midnight deadline was missed, “the $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts are scheduled to hit in the new year unless and until the legislation is finalized,” reported Fox News.
The bill is on its way to the Congress and members are reportedly scheduled to assemble as early as noon on Tuesday.
President Obama, while giving his public updates on the negotiations, has not missed the opportunity to blame and chastise Republicans.
He also made this dig at Congress,”One thing we can count on with respect to this Congress is that if there’s even one second left before you have to do what you’re supposed to do, they will use that last second.”
more video from negotiations