The compromise bill would avert the sharpest tax increase in American history
Stepping back from the brink of the fiscal cliff, the House of Representatives groped late Tuesday passed emergency bipartisan legislation sparing all but a sliver of America’s richest from sharp income-tax hikes.
The polarized chamber approved the measure, unchanged, after House Republican leaders beat back a day-long insurrection within their ranks fueled by conservative anger at the bill’s lack of spending cuts.
“They’re crazy, but they’re not that bat@#$@ crazy,” Democratic Representative Alcee Hastings told reporters as the Republican plan came into focus.
Hastings’s blunt assessment came after a day in which Republican leaders at times seemed to be as much political arsonists as firefighters in the face of rank-and-file GOP anger at the bill.
The House seemed on track to torch the legislation, a hard-fought bipartisan bill crafted by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell that sailed through the Senate by a lopsided 89-8 margin in a vote shortly after 2 a.m.
The compromise bill would avert the sharpest tax increase in American history. But it would hike rates on income above $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for households, while exemptions and deductions the wealthiest Americans use to reduce their tax bill would face new limits. The accord would also raise the taxes paid on large inheritances from 35% to 40% for estates over $5 million. And it would extend by one year unemployment benefits for some two million Americans. It would also prevent cuts in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients and spare tens of millions of Americans who otherwise would have been hit with the Alternative Minimum Tax. And it would extend some stimulus-era tax breaks championed by progressives.
The middle class will still see its taxes go up: The final deal did not include an extension of the payroll tax holiday. A report released by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office Tuesday complicated matters further. It said that the Senate-passed compromise would add nearly $4 trillion to the federal deficit over 10 years.
Full Story at Yahoo! News