The House of Representatives passed legislation averting income tax increases for most U.S. workers after Republicans abandoned their effort to attach spending cuts that would have been rejected by the Senate.
The 257-167 bipartisan vote breaks a yearlong impasse over how to head off $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts that were set to begin taking effect today. The Senate passed the bill early this morning, 89-8, and it goes to President Barack Obama for his signature…
The measure isn’t the grand bargain on deficit reduction lawmakers wanted when they created the tax-and-spending deadlines over the past three years. While it averts most of the immediate pain, it is only a small step toward controlling the federal deficit — an issue that will return with a February fight over raising the $16.4 trillion debt limit.
The deal was worked out by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican. Eighty-five Republicans and 172 Democrats voted for the measure while 16 Democrats and 151 Republicans opposed it.
The plan will make the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts permanent for most workers while letting them expire for top earners…
The legislation will continue expanded unemployment benefits and delay automatic spending cuts for two months. It will let a 2 percent payroll tax cut expire.
The Senate vote early today shifted the pressure to House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who didn’t speak during debate on the bill. In his two years as speaker, Boehner has had to quell rebellions among fellow Republicans backed by the anti-tax Tea Party.
Boehner’s second-in-command, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, voted against the measure. Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, this year’s Republican vice presidential nominee, voted for it “to protect as many Americans as possible from a tax increase,” he said in a statement.
The budget deal will raise taxes on 77 percent of U.S. households, mostly because of the expiration of the payroll tax cut, said the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington.
That last one is something most working families will feel. The definitions are fuzzier, they will vary more. They won’t hurt any less for working class families.
The chance for real equity in SSA funding will only come when the cap is removed and folks earning more than $106K keep on paying the tax.