House Passes Senate Version of Fiscal Cliff Bill



UPDATE: The House has passed the Senate's version of the Fiscal Cliff bill late Tuesday night.  The final vote tally was 257 to 167.  85 GOP yeas, 172 Democratic yeas. The bill now goes to the President for a signature.

The following reaction is from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell:

"Now it's time to get serious about reducing Washington's out-of-control spending. That's a debate the American people want. It's the debate we'll have next. And it's a debate Republicans are ready for."

The following reaction is from Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi:

"The House passage of the Senate's bipartisan legislation is a victory for the middle class.  Our action permanently extends the middle class tax cut and promotes economic growth, while asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.  It extends unemployment insurance for those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

"With the passage of this measure, we strengthen the principle that we must have equal parts revenue and spending cuts as we work to reduce our deficit.  We strengthen our economy through investments in innovation, tax credits for education, and tax breaks to spur the technologies of the future, including renewable energy.

"Tonight's progress is not only a victory for the middle class but for the President and Vice President who campaigned on protecting the middle class - and kept their promise to the American people.

"I am especially proud of the unity in the House Democratic Caucus - of our ongoing commitment to protect the economic security of the middle class and our willingness to find common ground and work in a bipartisan way to get the job done.  To that end, we are off to a good start in the new year."

The following reaction is from House Speaker John Boehner:

"The federal government has a spending problem that has led to a $16 trillion national debt that threatens our country's future.  On the day after the election, I proposed that both parties work together to avert the fiscal cliff in a manner that would ensure 2013 is the year we finally enact entitlement reform and pro-growth tax reform to begin to solve our country's debt problem.

"Now the focus turns to spending.  The American people re-elected a Republican majority in the House, and we will use it in 2013 to hold the president accountable for the 'balanced' approach he promised, meaning significant spending cuts and reforms to the entitlement programs that are driving our country deeper and deeper into debt. 

"Without meaningful reform of entitlements, real spending controls, and a fairer, cleaner tax code, our debt will continue to grow, and our economy will continue to stumble.  Republicans stand for a stronger, more prosperous America, rich in opportunity and free of the debt that threatens our children's future.  On this New Year's Day, we renew our commitment to that vision, humbled by the opportunity to serve."

President Obama & Vice President Biden appeared in the WH briefing room late Tuesday night where the President made brief remarks. 

President Obama: "Thanks to the votes of Democrats and Republicans in Congress, I will sign a law that raises taxes on the wealthiest percentage of Americans while preventing a middle class tax hike that could've sent the economy back into recession, which obviously had a severe impact on families across America."

President Obama: "I want to thank all of the leaders in the House and Senate. In particular I want to thank the work that was done by my extraordinary Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Leader Harry Reid, Speaker Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, and Mitch McConnell. Everybody worked very hard on this and I appreciate it. And Joe once again, I want to thank you for your great work."

President Obama says he's always open to compromise, but also warned Republicans that he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling.

The President is headed back to Hawaii for the rest of his vacation.

So what's involved in the deal?

FOX News Radio's Mike Majchrowitz has the answer from Washington:

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This Senate brokered measure heads off an income tax increase for individuals earning $400,000 or less and couples making $450,000. Although all taxpayers will still see a 2% rise in payroll taxes. It increases the estate tax to 40% starting at five million. Unemployment insurance will be extended a year and automatic spending cuts to the military and domestic programs will be delayed a couple of months. But it may be a tough sell in the House, where many Republicans say it cuts too little and some Democrats feel it raises too little in taxes.

In Washington, Mike Majchrowitz, FOX News Radio.

LISTEN to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speak about the fiscal cliff legislation from the floor of the Senate:

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LISTEN to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell talk about the fiscal cliff legislation from the floor of the Senate:

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