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House Passes 'Fiscal Cliff' Bill

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: government, congress, republicans, fiscal cliff, politics, news, economy, americans )

- 1363 days ago -
The House late Tuesday gave final approval to a Senate-backed bill that will let taxes rise for the richest Americans, shield the middle class from tax hikes and extend emergency unemployment benefits, ending Washington's long drama over the "fiscal cliff

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Kit B. (276)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 8:51 pm

Just read this in the New York Times:

Ending a climactic fiscal showdown in the final hours of the 112th Congress, the House late Tuesday passed and sent to President Obama legislation to avert tax increases on most Americans and prevent large cuts in spending for the Pentagon and other government programs.
The measure, brought to the House floor less than 24 hours after its passage in the Senate, passed 257 to 167, with 85 Republicans joining 172 Democrats in voting to allow incomes taxes to rise for the first time in two decades. The bill is expected to be signed quickly by Mr. Obama.

Kit B. (276)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 8:52 pm

The House and Senate have both passed this and now need a long rest to refresh themselves for more time of not working ahead.

Edith B. (147)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 9:47 pm
They only had 500 plus days to do this, what a mess we have in DC.

Giana Peranio-Paz (408)
Tuesday January 1, 2013, 10:55 pm
Great news!

Farah Hage Ali (153)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 1:57 am
noted, thank you

P A. (117)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 2:49 am
Oh Kit I wish I could give you another star for that - your second post made me snort with laughter! Question - what concessions made this possible - apart from tax rises to the poor and middle class?

Alexandra Rodda (180)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 4:55 am
All's well that ends well -almost.

Anne P. (195)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 5:47 am
I am so tired of the fabricated "fiscal cliff" fiasco that I could scream. And now, Republicans are licking their chops for the upcoming debt ceiling battle - which will be ugly. Here is Robert Reich's take on what we have to look forward to, friends:

And Joshua Holland's:

John Gregoire (293)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 6:15 am
How can anyone believe that this "kicking the can down the road" legislation is the end of our problems. It actually increases them many fold as we face an expiration of the debt limit ceiling, an out of control spending spree, a new" fiscal cliff" deadline in a very short time and a bill full of gimmes for corporations and other wasteful government programs!

We need leadership in Washington and we don't have it ib the White Houese nor in Congress. Leadership is about making hard choices, not always getting our way and legislating for the good of the country. We see none of this in this bill.

Rather than cheer, we should bemoan another sad, sad, day in DC.

Thomas P. (451)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 7:14 am
Noted...thanks Kit. Very disappointed that both the Senate and the House let the 2% payroll tax cut expire...the economy could have used it for at least another year. This means everyone who is an employee will take a pay cut of 2% of their wages up to $ 113,700 (the limit on social security withholding for 2013).

Thomas P. (451)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 7:21 am
A wage earner earning $ 50,000 just saw his/her paycheck go down $1,000 a year. He/she will probably be able to make ends meet without that money, but the economy sure could have used it. I just think it's very disappointing in that regard. I know there are many good things in this deal but I for one was quite surprised that wasn't part of the final deal.

JL A. (282)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 7:29 am
Want to find out what corporate welfare items were--am suspecting it was in the farm bill rolled into this component...that's the kind of pork where it can get ugly.

Gary L. (138)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 8:19 am
Sadly the republicans put party before country shame on them if they had a conscious to feel shame with

Carrie B. (312)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 10:13 am
As usual the good guys had to make too many concessions to get the worthless corporate sponsored bad guys to get off their collective backsides and do anything at all. Perhaps some well deserved grumbling from the middle class about their shrinking paychecks will get those up for reelection in 2014 to take a better look at their real constituency. Yea, right.

Terrie Williams (799)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 10:48 am
They left loopholes for the Fascists big enough to walk they still will NOT be paying their actual share.......go figure. I am soooooooo frikken tired of these manufactured 'cliffs' I could scream. None of them really want to do anything about the real cuts, which would be the corporate welfare/military industrial complex goodies they already said they did not want to keep (but the contracted manufacturers do!) and all the loopholes the top 2% get to continue to use to not pay their full share of taxes. No. They will put it on our backs yet again and the people will put up with it yet again and so the dance macabre goes on....and on......and on.

Oh, and, how do ya like that pay raise they gave themselves for doing nothing and working (if you wanna call doing nothing work) for less than half a year this go-round? Gotta love it.....NOT!!!!! And they piss and moan that Social Security/Disability recipients are getting a miserly 1.7% COLA this year. Uh, that comes to less than 24 dollars for us per month. But they will be getting much much more than that per month. The major cajones of these sorry POS's never ceases to enrage me.

Nancy C. (807)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 11:08 am
How quiet the 2% tax cut slide! Green star for Kit. I agree with you Terrie about being frikken tired...I'm going to work for the green party starting soon...Can't stand this game. Meanwhile, wars, global warming, unemployment, and the issues that really need addressing are rotting on the table.

Gene Jacobson (285)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 11:36 am
" House late Tuesday passed and sent to President Obama legislation to avert tax increases on most Americans."

Of course that is not entirely true. The only Americans feeling zero tax increase are those with no taxable income at all because the payroll tax cut of the past two years expires as of yesterday, all of us will be seeing a 2% increase in taxes offsetting any raises of 2% or less due this year, for those fortunate enough to have gotten even that from their employers. As I see Thomas pointed out as well. Now, they will battle over the spending reductions due in two months. These are the most ego driven people on the planet, they cannot stand a day when news of their shenanigans, preferably with determined looking photo's, isn't on the front page of every newspaper in the country.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 5:34 pm
Good point Gene. And from what I've read, it looks like we're getting $1 of spending reductions for every $42 of tax increases... Great comprimising there.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 5:39 pm
I don't understand why the left is bitching though... They wanted the tax cuts to expire- what did you guys expect? And $42 of tax increases for every $1 of spending reductions? The republicans rolled over for you completely. How much more could they have done? $.50 of spending reductions? $43 of tax increases? BOTH parties are complicit in this mess & until people learn that the democratic party is full of rich people looking out for themselves, just like the republicans, we are staying in this depression.

Carol H. (229)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 5:46 pm
noted, thanks Carrie

Nancy C. (807)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 5:52 pm
If you had 2 families in your own family circle w/o homes due to Sandy you may be singing a different song Robby.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 6:02 pm
I don't have family members, but I have several friends who've lost homes there. But I don't see what that has to do w/anything. AAMOF, I think aid was a bit delayed to that area IIRC. And had GW been in office (like during Kattrina) he'd have been roasted w/an apple in his mouth. Not that I like GW but I don't believe everything (including the Chicago fire) was his fault either... Still... The left got what they asked for. And they won on spending reductions too... So, what's the prob?

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 6:03 pm
But I do agree w/most of your previous post Nancy.... And Kit's post gets a green star from me too....

. (7)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 6:57 pm
Noted, thank you Carrie.

Billie C. (2)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 8:55 pm
to bad obama just had to get out of town so fast he didn't bother to sign it into law. why did he bother to come back at all? oh yea to spend all of the little bit in spending cuts the gop got.

Past Member (0)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 12:28 am

But how did it ever get to this dire situation in the first place? This is not good government, people.

Magdika Cecilia PĂ©rez (131)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 3:32 am
thank you

Ro H. (0)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 5:15 am

Ro H. (0)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 5:16 am

John Gregoire (293)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 10:21 am
Please note that the PORK was put into this bill by the White House and legislators from both parties. Here's an illuminating report of how it happened. Gee thanks mr robo-President!

The "fiscal cliff" legislation passed this week included $76 billion in special-interest tax credits for the likes of General Electric, Hollywood and even Captain Morgan. But these subsidies weren't the fruit of eleventh-hour lobbying conducted on the cliff's edge -- they were crafted back in August in a Senate committee, and they sat dormant until the White House reportedly insisted on them this week.

The Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012, which passed through the Senate Finance Committee in August, was copied and pasted into the fiscal cliff legislation, yielding a victory for biotech companies, wind-turbine-makers, biodiesel producers, film studios -- and their lobbyists. So, if you're wondering how algae subsidies became part of a must-pass package to avert the dreaded fiscal cliff, credit the Biotechnology Industry Organization's lobbying last summer.

Some tax lobbyists mostly ignored the August bill "because they thought it would be just a political document," one K Streeter told me. "They were the ones that got bit in the butt."

Here's what happened: In late July, Finance Chairman Max Baucus announced the committee would soon convene to craft a bill extending many expiring tax credits. This attracted lobbyists like a raw steak attracts wolves.

Former Sens. John Breaux, D-La., and Trent Lott, R-Miss., a pair of rainmaker lobbyists, pleaded for extensions on behalf of a powerful lineup of clients.

General Electric and Citigroup, for instance, hired Breaux and Lott to extend a tax provision that allows multinational corporations to defer U.S. taxes by moving profits into offshore financial subsidiaries. This provision -- known as the "active financing exception" -- is the main tool GE uses to avoid nearly all U.S. corporate income tax.

Liquor giant Diageo also retained Breaux and Lott to win extensions on two provisions benefitting rum-making in Puerto Rico.

The K Street firm Capitol Tax Partners, led by Treasury Department alumni from the Clinton administration, represented an even more impressive list of tax clients, who paid CTP more than $1.68 million in the third quarter.

Besides financial clients like Citi, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, CTP represented green energy companies like GE and the American Wind Energy Association. These companies won extension and expansion of the production tax credit for wind energy.

Hollywood hired CTP, too: The Motion Picture Association of America won an extension on tax credits for film production.

After packing 50 tax credit extensions into the bill, the committee voted 19 to 5 to pass it. But then it stalled. The Senate left for the conventions and the fall campaign. Meanwhile, House Republicans signaled resistance to some of the extensions -- especially for green energy.

One lobbyist said he didn't worry too much about the Baucus bill because "we knew the House wasn't going to pass it." But another lobbyist, who had worked on the Puerto Rico issues, said he saw Baucus' bill as an important starting point that "set the parameters" of a future fight with House Republicans.

But there never was a fight. Baucus' bill sat ignored until last week, when the White House sat down with Senate Republicans to craft a deal averting the fiscal cliff.

A Republican Senate aide familiar with the cliff negotiations tells me the White House wanted permanent extensions of a whole slew of corporate tax credits. When Senate Republicans said no, "the White House insisted that the exact language" of the Baucus bill be included in the fiscal cliff deal. "They were absolutely insistent," another aide tells me. (The White House did not return requests for comment.)

Sure enough, Title II of the fiscal cliff legislation is nearly a word-for-word replication of the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012.

So, this wasn't a case of lobbyists sneaking provisions into a huge package at the last minute. That probably wouldn't have been possible, many lobbyists told me Wednesday, because the workload in the past two weeks was too large and the political stakes were too high.

One lobbyist who worked on the bill over the summer said he would never ask a member " 'Hey, can you do this for a client,' when their political lives are on the line."

"The legislators and the staff go underground when things get so intense," another Hill staffer-turned-lobbyist told me. "Nobody has time for a meeting. Nobody wants to talk about what's going on. ... The key is to plant the seed months in advance."

GE, Goldman Sachs, Diageo -- they planted their seeds over the summer. They'll enjoy the fruit in the new year.

Timothy P. Carney, The Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at His column appears Monday and Thursday, and his stories and blog posts appear on

Bruno Moreira (61)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 12:55 pm
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