Breaking News: House Passes Senate's Fiscal Cliff Bill
Bret Baier reports that the House has voted to pass the Senate's fiscal cliff bill by a vote of 257 to 167. The bill, which halts massive tax hikes and delays spending cuts, will now be sent to President Obama for signature.
More details from FoxNews.com are below:
The House gave its approval Tuesday night to the Senate bill halting massive tax hikes and delaying a risky round of spending cuts, sending the package to the president’s desk and likely averting for now an economy-stalling fiscal crisis.
The 257-167 vote came after a day of high drama on Capitol Hill, during which conservative House lawmakers voiced serious concern about the Senate bill’s lack of spending cuts.
Rank-and-file Republicans initially predicted they would tinker with the package, raising the possibility the Senate would abandon it and nothing would get done before the new congressional class is seated Thursday.
But House leaders soon learned they did not have a majority behind any spending-cut plan, and allowed the straight vote. More Democrats supported the bill than Republicans.
The result, once Obama signs it, is that tax hikes that technically kicked in Jan. 1 for most Americans would largely be halted.
The bill would nix the 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, while patching up a host of other expiring provisions and delaying automatic spending cuts for two months. Those cuts, which would hit defense heavily, will instead be offset with a blend of tax increases and other spending cuts.
Americans will still see a 2-point increase this month in their Social Security tax, as Congress did not opt to extend that payroll tax holiday.
The House was able to shoehorn in the vote before the markets open Wednesday. Uncertainty about a deal threatened to wreak havoc on Wall Street. And economists warned that any prolonged stalemate into 2013 threatened to pull the broader economy back into a recession. In total, more than $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts were set to take effect this year.
The vote Tuesday came amid rising pressure from House Democrats and the Senate side, which approved the bill early Tuesday morning. Democrats made clear that they would pin the blame squarely on House Republicans if the tax hikes were not averted.
“This is the House’s wisdom in making the best of a bad situation,” one House GOP leadership aide told Fox News. “We had a bad hand from the start, but we’re avoiding being blamed for taking us off the cliff.”