House Passes 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal; Increases Spending $332B; Hikes Taxes; Most GOPers Opposed; Boehner: Yes, Cantor: No

By Terence P. Jeffrey | January 1, 2013 | 11:16pm EST


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

( - The House of Representatives late Tuesday night voted 257 to 167 to approve a "fiscal cliff" deal that had been negotiated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden and approved by the Senate in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

The majority of House Republicans voted against the bill, with 151 opposing it, 85 supporting it, and 5 not voting. House Speaker John Boehner voted for the bill. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor voted against it.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R.-Calif.) also sided against Boehner and opposed the bill. Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R.-Texas) and Republican  Policy Comittee Chairman Tom Price (R.-Ga.) also sided against the speaker and opposed the bill.

Leading House conservatives who voted against the bill included Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.), Marsha Blackburn (R.-Ga.), Justin Amash (R.-Mich.), Louie Gohmert (R.-Texas), Trent Franks (R.-Ariz.), Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R.-Kan.), Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.), Jim Jordan (R.-Ohio), Steve King (R.-Iowa), Jack Kingston (R.-Ga.), Tom McClintock (R.-Calif.), Devin Nunes (R.-Calif.), Jim Sensenbrenner (R.-Wis.), and Cliff Stearns (R.-Fla.).

Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.), a long-time champion of small government among House Republicans, cast one of his last votes in the House in opposition to the fiscal cliff deal. Later this month, Pence will be taking office as the new governor of Indiana.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.), the House Budget chairman who ran as the Republican vice presidential nominee on the GOP ticket with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, joined with Boehner, and stood against House conservatives, in voting for the deal.

According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis, the deal will increase federal spending by $332 billion over the next ten years.

The deal phases out exemptions and deductions for individuals earning more than 250,000 per year and for couples earning more than $300,000, according to a summary published by the New York Times. It also increases the income tax rate for individuals earning more than $400,000 per year and couples earning more than $450,000 per year.

The deal also suspends for two months the $110 billion future spending cuts, set to take place in 2013, that House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama agreed to when they made a deal in August 2011 to increase the federal government's debt limit by $2.4 trillion.

The federal government exhausted that $2.4 trillion in new borrowing authority on Monday. So, the government has thus far been able to borrow all of the additional $2.4 trillion that Boehner and Obama agreed to in seventeen months ago without actually carrying out any of the spending cuts they agreed to at that time.

The bill also spends $30 billion--with no offsetting spending cut--to provide extended unemployment benefits to people who have not worked for more than half a year.

The bill, according to the Republican Study Committee, would also permanently reinstate the federal death tax, requiring a family to pay 40 percent of the value of all assets above $5 million when the senior member of the family dies.

While taxing family-owned businesses through the death tax, the bill would also pay out $134 billion in "refundable" tax credits to low-income people who did not, in the first place, pay the "tax" they are being refunded by the federal government.

It also, as the Republican Study Committee points out, will reimpose the "marriage penalty" by starting the top federal income tax rate at $400,000 for individuals but at $450,000 for married couples.

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