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fecal cliff

«Fiscal cliff» moves to House, outcome uncertain
By Thomas Ferraro
WASHINGTON — Washington's last-minute scramble to step back from a recession-inducing «fiscal cliff» shifted to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Tuesday after the Senate approved a bipartisan deal to avoid steep tax hikes and spending cuts
 
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(CNN) — A last-ditch Senate compromise to avert the fiscal cliff appeared to be in jeopardy with House Republicans slamming the deal negotiated with the White House and demanding more must be done to cut spending.
The measure that sought to maintain tax cuts for most Americans but increase rates on the wealthy passed the Democratic-led Senate overwhelmingly early on Tuesday. But Republican frustration over deficit-reduction muddled prospects for final action in the GOP-controlled House.
«This is not a good deal,» said Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio. «This is a sad state of affairs — that we're going to take a bill that was passed on New Year's Eve by some sleep-deprived octogenarians that has very, very heavy on taxes and does nothing to cut spending, which is really part of the big problem that we have in the country.»
House Republicans met for a second time on Tuesday to discuss the next steps on the fiscal cliff — whether to consider the bill as written — a so-called up or down vote — or amend it and send it back to the Senate.
A vote on either an amended version of the bill, which would add a package of spending cuts, or an up or down vote is likely to occur on Tuesday night, according to a GOP source. The source said House Speaker John Boehner presented those two options to his members.
If the GOP is able to get a commitment of 218 votes on the amendment, then House Republicans will bring it to the floor for a vote, the source said. If the GOP is not able to secure those votes, it will bring up the Senate-passed measure for an up or down vote in the House, the source said.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, told reporters that he did not support the bill as passed by the Senate, dealing a major blow to its chances in the House.
Time was crucial, however, as a new Congress is set to be sworn-in on Thursday. Congress would have to start the process anew if there is no action on the fiscal cliff by then.
Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-New York, said she was hopeful her party would «come up with an alternative, an amendment that we can present to the Senate.»
«We were elected and then re-elected as a majority to bring the federal government to the right size, to respect every tax dollar,» said Hayworth, who lost her re-election bid.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters that Democrats were eager to see what Republicans would put on the floor.
«Up until now, (Speaker John Boehner) has said when the Senate acts, we will have a vote in the House. That is what he said. That is what we expect. That is what the American people deserve, so we look forward now… to see what the timing will be for a straight up or down vote on what passed 89-8 last night in the United States Senate,» Pelosi said.
Later she tweeted: «Strong majority of House Ds support bipartisan Senate bill… Confident it will pass if @SpeakerBoehner allows up/down vote.»
The Senate adjourned until noon on Wednesday.
Not all congressional Democrats were happy with the proposal that would maintain Bush-era tax cuts that expired at midnight on Monday.
The Senate plan would maintain tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 and couples earning less than $450,000. It would raise tax rates for those over those levels — marking the first time in two decades the rates jump for the wealthiest Americans.
Blog: Latest updates
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, complained that the deal «makes tax benefits for high-income earners permanent, while tax benefits designed to help those of modest means and the middle class are only extended for five years.»
The bill temporarily extends certain tax breaks, such as the one for college tuition, while making new tax rates permanent.
Read more: 5 things to know about the fiscal cliff
President picks up bragging rights, breaks a promise
While the deal gives President Barack Obama bragging rights for raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, it also leaves him breaking a promise.
Obama had vowed to raise tax rates for the top-earning 2% of Americans, including those with household income above $250,000, and individuals earning more than $200,000.
«What I'm not going to do is to extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% that we can't afford and, according to economists, will have the least positive impact on our economy,» the president said at a news conference in November, after being asked by CNN why Americans should believe he would not «cave again this time» by allowing those Bush-era tax cuts to be extended.
When asked whether closing loopholes instead of raising rates would be satisfactory, the president responded, «when it comes to the top 2%, what I'm not going to do is to extend further a tax cut for folks who don't need it, which would cost close to a trillion dollars. And it's very difficult to see how you make up that trillion dollars, if we're serious about deficit reduction, just by closing loopholes in deductions. You know, the math tends not to work.»
The deal passed by the Senate would cap itemized deductions for individuals making $250,000 and for married couples making $300,000.
Raising the threshold for higher tax rates to $400,000 shrinks the number of Americans affected. While nearly 2% of filers have adjusted gross incomes over $250,000, only 0.6% have incomes above $500,000, according to the Tax Policy Center.
Going over the fiscal cliff: Messages to Washington
Still, in a written statement early Tuesday, the president held on to the 98% figure he has so often touted.
The deal «protects 98% of Americans and 97% of small business owners from a middle class tax hike,» he said. «While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country and the House should pass it without delay.»
The president also acknowledged, «There's more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I'm willing to do it. But tonight's agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans.»
However, many Americans are still likely to see their paychecks shrink somewhat, due to a separate battle over payroll taxes.
Senate vote 'sends a strong message'
«Glad it's over,» said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, after the vote on the fiscal cliff deal, just a couple of hours after the East Coast rang in the new year. «We'll see if the Republicans in the House can become functional instead of dysfunctional.»
пара уже и по 116 была недавно, полнейший космас начался
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