The deal is finally done:
The House late Tuesday night voted to approve a sweeping tax deal to prevent the most significant effects of the "fiscal cliff," overcoming Republican resistance to raising income tax rates on the wealthiest earners.Not to mention the wrath of Hollywood. But at least something good came out of the mess.
The 257-167 vote culminated a day of high drama in the Capitol, as Republican leaders considered and then quickly abandoned a plan to attach steep spending cuts to a measure passed overwhelmingly by the Senate early Tuesday morning.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voted in favor of the legislation, splitting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), the Budget Committee chairman and former Republican vice presidential nominee, voted yes.
For Boehner (R-Ohio), the vote ended a nightmarish two-month stretch during which he failed to strike a post-election grand bargain with Obama, scrapped a vote on his own fiscal plan because of a Republican mutiny and ultimately was forced to sit on the sidelines as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hammered out a final deal with Vice President Biden.
The post-election period was not much better for Congress as a whole. With economists warning that going over the fiscal cliff could send the U.S. economy back into recession, Democratic and Republican leaders bickered until the 11th hour and technically missed the Jan. 1 deadline for preventing a sharp tax hike.
The Senate approved its bill in the early morning hours as most Americans were celebrating the New Year, forcing the House to accept it or risk the wrath of taxpayers and the markets.