Published On: Tue, Jan 1st, 2013

US Senate passes ‘fiscal cliff’ deal, President Obama says it’s the ‘right thing to do for our country’

The US Senate has approved a deal on Monday to avert general tax hikes and spending cuts known as the “fiscal cliff”.

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The bill, which raises taxes for the wealthy, came after lengthy talks between Vice-President Joe Biden and Senate Republicans with The House is due to consider it later. Spending cuts have been delayed for two months to allow a wider agreement.

Congress missed the deadline to pass a bill, but few effects will be felt as Tuesday is a US public holiday. Tax cuts approved during the presidency of George W Bush formally expired at midnight.

Without approval in the House, huge tax rises for virtually all working Americans will kick in automatically.

Analysts warned that if the full effects of the fiscal cliff were allowed to take hold, the resulting reduction in consumer spending could spark a new recession.

“While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted,” President Obama said in a statement, “this agreement is the right thing to do for our country and the House should pass it without delay.” He said it would “grow the economy and shrink our deficits in a balanced way.”

Despite concerns raised by some Senate Democrats earlier in the day, the bill was approved by a strong 89-8 vote, with a majority of both parties in support.

Before the vote, Vice President Joe Biden came to the Capitol to rally Senate Democrats behind closed doors. He emerged with a broad grin, saying, “Happy New Year. I feel very good about how this vote is going to go.”

The agreement preserves current federal tax rates on income up to $450,000 a year. President Barack Obama initially sought a lower income threshold for a tax hike, while many Republicans had argued against raising taxes at all.

One of the most strident opponents was Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa. Speaking on the Senate floor shortly before the vote, he declared the compromise benefited the wealthiest Americans at the expense of those who could afford it the least.

“Maybe now we are all believers of trickle-down economics. Not I,” Mr. Harkin said, declaring he would vote against the legislation.

The other seven senators voting against the bill were Democrats Tom Carper of Delaware and Michael Bennet of Colorado and Republicans Charles Grassley of Iowa, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida and Richard Shelby of Alabama.

There were three not voting: DeMint (R-SC), Kirk (R-IL), and Lautenberg (D-NJ)

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, two different views on the ‘fiscal cliff vote’ from Kentucky - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is considered instrumental in getting the deal passed with a vote of 89-8, he along with long time comrade and current Vice-President, Joe Biden are getting lots of the […]

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