Crisis averted: House backs Senate plan, pulls country back from cliff

US Capitol BuildingThe House of Representatives voted 257-167 late Tuesday to approve a bipartisan compromise leaving in place tax cuts for individuals with incomes less than $400,000 and families with incomes less than $450,000 and delays automatic spending cuts for two months.

The Senate had voted 89-8 in the early-morning hours of Tuesday to approve the compromise, which was negotiated by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte joined a majority of the House Republican Caucus voting against the measure, which passed with the votes of 172 Democrats and 85 Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner and Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman who was the 2012 Republican Party vice-presidential nominee.

“I voted against this legislation because it fails to address the biggest threat to the American economy and our nation as a whole – spending and debt,” Goodlatte said.”Early this morning, the Senate finally took action.  The plan they passed continues out of control spending and does not go far enough to extend tax relief to hardworking families and many small businesses.

“The tax increases contained in this bill will take effect immediately, but the future spending cuts that have been promised may never happen. We do not have a tax revenue problem in America. Out of control spending is the problem – a national debt in excess of $16 trillion is a clear enough example, and this ‘deal’ does not address it on the spending side.”

Fifth District Republican Robert Hurt joined Goodlatte in voting no.

“The Senate proposal provides permanent tax relief to most Americans, and I believe that is a step in the right direction toward creating certainty for our families and small business owners. The proposal also enacts permanent estate tax relief for our small businesses and family farmers who need certainty in our tax code. But at a time when we as a nation own a $16 trillion debt and borrow 45 cents on every dollar we spend, this legislation does absolutely nothing to address the federal government’s spending problem – in fact it only adds to it,” Hurt said.

In addition to the yea votes of Boehner and Ryan, the compromise earned the endorsement of Grover Norquist, the architect of the no-tax pledge signed by many Republicans in Congress. Norquist tweeted late Tuesday that because the Bush-era tax cuts had technically lapsed at midnight on Dec. 31, “E

very R voting for Senate bill is cutting taxes and keeping his/her pledge.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is concerned that the compromise “does little to address our deficits and it does not raise enough revenue to put our country on a path to reduce our long-term debt.”

“In coming weeks, we still must reach agreement on steps to generate more revenues, make additional spending cuts, and strengthen and reform our entitlement programs so successful programs like Medicare and Social Security will still exist 30 years from now,” Warner said.

Democratic Sen.-elect Tim Kaine, for his part, is “pleased that the House and Senate have acted in a bipartisan and cooperative fashion to pass this important legislation to protect the middle class and avert a short-term fiscal crisis.”

“This bill is far from perfect, and it’s time Congress stops kicking the can down the road on a long-term solution to our fiscal problems. But it’s an encouraging sign that Congress can put partisanship aside for the good of our economy and the American people. Much work remains to be done and I look forward to tackling our ongoing budget issues after I’m sworn in on Thursday,” Kaine said.

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