Congress Has Passed a Fiscal Cliff Deal

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Update: While we may be just weeks away from a series of mini-cliffs to come, the House of Representatives approved the much debated Senate version of a bill late Sunday night, 257-167, averting a fiscal crisis. In the final vote, 85 Republicans supported the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which restores Bush-era tax cuts on individuals making $400,00 a year while delaying budget cuts for two months. You can read the legislation here. President Obama said at an evening appearance at the White House that he would sign it into law:

Original post: After the Senate worked through New Year's Eve to draft a bill averting fiscal crisis, House Republicans spent Sunday throwing a tantrum because the bill didn't give them everything they wanted. But the House was headed for an evening vote, with the Senate's cliff deal expected to pass.

In meetings Sunday afternoon, House GOP members led by Eric Cantor voiced their displeasure with the Senate's fiscal cliff deal. Their chief concern was not getting as many spending cuts as they had hoped. For a moment, it seemed like the plan would be to amend the Senate's bill, which would have had to pass the House... and then go through the Senate again. But the problem with a revised plan was time — the markets re-open in the morning, and because the U.S. technically has gone over the cliff, the expectations were not good. Not good at all.

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But! There's always a but. Once Republicans added the spending cuts to the Senate's bill, there wasn't enough support to pass it. They didn't even like the bill they could come up with that included spending cuts. It became clear the Senate wasn't going to take any House-edited version of their bill. So, John Boehner reportedly told Republicans he would personally vote yes on the Senate bill brokered by Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden if they couldn't get enough support to pass the amended bill. Now Buzzfeed's John Stanton and Rebecca Greenberg report Boehner plans to abandon the Hastert rule — the long-standing tradition of not introducing a bill to the floor without enough support to pass it — to force an up-and-down vote. This is a big deal, because it shows there is in fact, a major rift in the Republican leadership right now. 

This fiscal cliff deal, then, is finally expected to pass. The vote won't be until around 11 p.m., maybe even closer to midnight, but the markets should open happy, and Congress will have staved off disaster — for now.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.