The Senate, in a pre-dawn vote two hours after the deadline passed to avert automatic tax increases, overwhelmingly approved legislation on Tuesday that would allow tax rates to rise only on affluent Americans while temporarily suspending sweeping, across-the-board spending cuts.
The deal, worked out in furious negotiations between Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, passed 89 to 8, with just three Democrats and five Republicans voting no. Although it lost the support of some of the Senate’s most conservative members, the broad coalition that pushed the accord across the finish line could portend swift House passage as early as New Year’s Day.
Quick passage before the markets reopen on Wednesday would likely negate any economic damage from Tuesday’s breach of the so-called “fiscal cliff” and largely spare the nation’s economy from the one-two punch of large tax increases and across-the-board military and domestic spending cuts in the New Year.
“This shouldn’t be the model for how to do things around here,” Mr. McConnell said just after 1:30 a.m. “But I think we can say we’ve done some good for the country.”
Mr. Biden, after a late New Year’s Eve meeting with leery Senate Democrats to sell the accord, said: “You surely shouldn’t predict how the House is going to vote. But I feel very, very good.”
The eight senators who voted no included Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida and a potential presidential candidate in 2016, two of the Senate’s most ardent small-government Republicans, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah, and Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who as a former Finance Committee chairman helped secure passage of the Bush-era tax cuts, then opposed making almost all of them permanent on Tuesday. Two moderate Democrats, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware and Michael Bennet of Colorado, also voted no, as did the liberal Democrat Tom Harkin, who said the White House had given away too much in the compromise. Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama, also voted no.
The New York Times, “Senate Passes Legislation to Allow Taxes on Affluent to Rise” (via inothernews)
“Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder” -Mason Cooley(via thehedrick)