House passes "Fiscal Cliff" legislation - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

President Obama speaks out after House passes "Fiscal Cliff" legislation

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After the Senate passed a fiscal cliff bill all eyes were on the U.S. House Tuesday night to see if they would follow suit. After a lot of debate the House did pass the Senate's fiscal cliff bill. For the most part the House vote came down along party lines Tuesday night. The final vote was 257-167. 172 Democrats voted yes and 16 Democrats voted no; 85 Republicans voted yes and 151 Republicans voted no. House Speaker John Boehner was among the Republicans voting for the measure. The Senate passed the bill less than 24 hours earlier. If the House did not pass this Senate bill the Bush-era tax cuts that were set last decade would have expired fully and broad tax increases would have kicked in. Also big cuts would have been made to domestic and military spending. Many people were concerned all of this would have hurt the economy, possibly sending the country back into a recession. There was also a concern going over the "fiscal cliff," could have driven up the unemployment rate as well.

President Obama said a big part of his campaign for President was to change the tax code he felt was too skewed toward the wealthy at the expense of working middle class Americans. He said Tuesday night he was able to achieve that goal thanks to the votes of Democrats and Republicans in Congress. He says he will now sign a law that raises taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans while preventing a middle class tax hike that could have sent the country back into a recession. The President says under this law more than 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses will not see their income taxes go up. "While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they've already racked up through the laws that they passed. Let me repeat: We can't not pay bills that we've already incurred. If Congress refuses to give the United States government the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic -- far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff," President Obama said.

Clearly this has been a very tumultuous time in Congress. The Senate first passed this bill very early on Tuesday which then had the House debating the bill late into Tuesday night. Under the plan, individuals earning $400,000 dollars a year or more, and households earning $450,000 dollars or more will see their taxes return to Clinton-era levels. The deal also extends unemployment benefits. Decisions on the controversial spending cuts are being put on hold for two months. Many who voted against the bill are saying it did not go far enough. Many Republicans were upset about a lack of spending cuts in the Bill. Many wanted to add them in but there weren't enough votes to do so. On the other hand many in favor of this bill say the country could not afford not to pass this bill. Many also say this is not a permanent fix it's really just the start of an answer to a much bigger problem. Many members of Congress say there is a lot of work to be done in 2013. The new congress is sworn in on Thursday.

After his address, the President headed back to Hawaii to rejoin his family. He's said when the bill gets to his desk, he'll sign it.

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