Wednesday, January 02, 2013

House follows Senate and passes fiscal cliff deal

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It wasn't clear when a vote was coming, but it came tonight:

The House gave final approval Tuesday night to a bill to rescind tax increases for the vast majority of Americans, but only after a day of closed-door debate among Republicans, who were forced to allow a vote on a compromise many in their party disdained.

The final tally, 257 to 167, included most of the chamber's Democrats and fewer than half of the Republican majority. 

It looked for a time as if there could be enough Republican opposition to block the deal, but in the end Boehner had enough votes:

Early in the evening, Republicans held a second caucus meeting. This time, take-out Chinese food replaced sandwiches, and resignation subbed for defiance.

Several Republicans said afterward they feared that, if the bill failed and taxes went up, their party would take the blame.

"You do have to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em," Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), an ally of Speaker John A. Boehner, said as he emerged from the meeting. "We've been beaten [in] this fight."

Well, they folded, sort of, but whether they were beaten is debatable.

After all, it's a pretty bad deal from my perspective, and for liberals generally, what with the leverage mostly on the side of Obama and the Democrats and with much of the compromising coming from the White House. Certainly a better deal could, and should, have been had, even if this deal includes a fair amount of good to go along with the bad.

Anyway, it's not over. Not even close. There's still the debt ceiling to deal with, and the mandatory spending cuts (sequestration) were just put off for two months, which means we'll be back at this very soon. It's possible that the politics are still, and will still be, in the president's favor, and so it's possible that he'll be able to make further gains, and therefore make all this much easier to swallow, but there are hardly any guarantees.

Buckle up.

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