After the Senate voted 89–8 on a compromise budget deal, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the House also passed the bill 257–167.
After attaining the necessary bipartisan support, the bill ensures that the once-looming budget cuts have now been postponed until March 1. The bill also preserves the Bush-era income tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 and for couples earning less than $450,000.
Before Congress finalized its allocation of the bill, and amid bipartisan unrest, President Obama noted that while neither Democrats nor Republicans were going to get everything they wanted, an agreement was the right thing to do for the country.
After the bill successfully passed through the hands of Congress, however, the president sang praises of the Legislature’s cooperation. “I want to thank all the leaders of the House and Senate,” Obama said at the White House after the bill was passed, according to a CNN transcript. “I want to thank you for your great work.”
Even though he is set to sign it into law, the president knows that there is still much more work to do.
“The fact is the deficit is still too high,” he continued. “But we are continuing to chip away at this problem step by step.”
I want to thank all the leaders of the House and Senate.
—President Barack Obama
Not all Democrats and Republicans were on board with the new measures, but it was especially important for all members of the House to make a sound, mutual decision.
“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.”
As soon as Obama signs the bill, the tax increases that kicked in Jan. 1 will now mostly be delayed.
However, 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, according to Fox News.
Now, Congress has two months to try and figure out how to cooperate on the issue of spending cuts. If no actions are taken by March 1, then Congress will soon find itself in the all-too-familiar mulish legislative challenge that the president hopes it can avoid.
“And the one thing that I think hopefully in the new year we’ll focus on is seeing if we can put a package like this together with a little bit less drama, a little bit less brinksmanship, not scare the heck out of folks quite as much,” he said.
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