By NEMS Daily Journal
A bill to avert the fiscal cliff’s full impact passed the U.S. Senate in the early morning hours Tuesday, but it was late Tuesday night before the U.S. House approved it on a 257 to 167 vote, with a majority of Republicans voting against it and a majority of Democrats voting for it.
The votes were hailed by many leaders in both parties, even though it didn’t go as far many wanted in cutting spending, or as far as many wanted in raising income taxes on the most well off Americans.
The bill would assure that about 98 to 99 percent of American taxpayers do not face higher income taxes in 2013. It would raise taxes on couples making $450,000 and more per year, plus other high-income earners.
U.S. senators Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., both voted for the bill along with 87 of their colleagues, Republicans and Democrats.
“This agreement averts a massive tax hike by extending current income tax rates permanently for 99 percent of Americans,” said Wicker, of Tupelo. “It is not perfect, and there is still work left to do. Congress and the president must reduce the federal deficit. … Today’s vote is a step in the right direction …”
Cochran, who has homes in Oxford and Jackson, said, “Failure to enact this package would mean broad tax increases and across-the-board cuts that would be too great a burden for our nation and for Mississippi. As imperfect as it is, this plan will ensure that the income taxes for most families in Mississippi will not shoot upward this year. There is much more work to be done to responsibly implement spending cuts and other measures to reduce the federal deficit.”
Cochran and Wicker recognize the value in even an imperfect compromise.
It’s expected that additional,, complex and contentious debate on spending cuts,, debt reduction and deficit control will follow in the early months of the new Congress, which begins Thursday. Had the House not voted to approve the fiscal cliff bill the process would have had to start over with the new Congress,, and few members,, if any, favored that option.
Taxpayers, businesses, the financial markets and the rest of the world need to know that the United States can stabilize itself, even as important debate continues further down the road.