US Waits for House Action on Fiscal Cliff Deal

Meetings began this afternoon
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2013 11:57 AM CST
US Waits for House Action on Fiscal Cliff Deal
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The nation—or at least, those of us in the nation not suffering from a major New Year's hangover—is waiting with bated breath to see what the House will do now that the Senate has passed a fiscal cliff deal. House Democrats met with Joe Biden starting at 12:15pm today, and House Republicans will begin a closed-door meeting at 1pm, Politico reports. No House vote has yet been scheduled, and it's unlikely one will be held before this evening at the earliest. The 112th Congress ends at noon Thursday, so if the deal is not passed before then, the 113th Congress will have to start the process all over again—meaning another Senate vote, the New York Times reports. Plus, markets re-open tomorrow and could see an impact if the bill is not passed today.

The House can either reject the bill entirely, pass the version the Senate approved, or amend it and send it back to the Senate. But if it takes the third option, the Times notes, there is little chance the bill will become law before the Thursday deadline; thus, there's quite a bit of pressure on the House to approve the bill—or else be seen as responsible for the tax increases and spending cuts that could spark another recession. Politico notes that, since we technically went over the cliff today, the Bush-era tax rates have expired and income above $250,000 is subject to a 39.6% tax rate. So if the House approves the Senate bill, taxes will technically be cut. But House Republicans aren't happy with other issues in the legislation, including a lack of spending cuts. Mediaite has a live feed of the House floor debate. (Read more fiscal cliff stories.)

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