The House of Representatives voted Tuesday night to approve a Senate bill to avert a feared fiscal cliff.
The measure that sought to maintain tax cuts for most Americans but increase rates on the wealthy passed the Democratic-led Senate overwhelmingly early in the day.
There was discussion about amending the Senate bill by adding spending cuts, but in the end, House lawmakers voted on the bill as written -- a so-called up or down vote.
The legislation would raise roughly $600 billion in new revenues over 10 years, according to various estimates.
The timing of the vote was crucial, as a new Congress is set to be sworn in Thursday.
The legislation averted much of the fiscal cliff's negative near-term economic impact by extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the majority of Americans. It also extends long-term unemployment benefits that were set to expire.
Had the House not acted, and the tax cuts enacted last decade expired fully, broad tax increases would have kicked in, as would $110 billion in automatic cuts to domestic and military spending.
In a statement Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., had this to say:
"I recognize that this last minute push to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff has been frustrating for the American people. I share in that frustration. The House passed bills to avoid the fiscal cliff last year. We are only in this position now because Senate Democrats and President Obama failed to take any action for months. So tonight, the House is voting on a rushed bill that does not address the underlying cause of our nation's fiscal problem: overspending.
"All along, I have been fighting for American taxpayers. They deserve low taxes and a government that lives within its means. I oppose the bill the Senate sent to the House because although it gives lower taxes to many Americans, it fails to do anything to address the spending crisis. Until we bring spending under control and reform entitlements, we will never have a truly prosperous economy with strong job creation. Another major problem is that most of the new tax revenue demanded by President Obama is spent on government programs rather than reducing the deficit.
"I will continue to work toward common sense solutions to bring Washington's spending under control. Washington does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem."
Congressman Scott Tipton, R-Colo., also issued a statement:
"Washington did not tax its way to a $16.3 trillion debt; it spent its way there. The Senate package does nothing to address the spending crisis in this country that has resulted in four straight years of trillion dollar deficits and a $16.3 trillion debt. In May and August of this past year, the House passed legislation to avert the fiscal cliff, avoid sequestration, and protect all Americans from tax increases. The Senate refused to act then, and instead sent an incomplete package in the dead of night to the House that fails to address spending in any way and kicks the can down the road. The Senate bill raises $41 million in revenues for every $1 dollar of spending cuts. It is nothing more than business as usual as Washington tries to increase the size of government on the backs of the hard working American people. The failure to face the real issue-the spending crisis in this country-is irresponsible, dysfunctional and egregious.
The business as usual mentality of Washington is what brought us the fiscal cliff in the first place, and ultimately, is what feeds the economic uncertainty that has lead to credit downgrades and 23 million unemployed Americans. It's irresponsible to punt on spending reform, and even worse to put it off until the country is up against the debt ceiling, further jeopardizing the United States' credit rating, creating additional economic uncertainty. Adding insult to injury, taxes are going to go up on thousands of small businesses. These businesses will be forced to lay off employees, cut benefits, and delay hiring, all in order to foot the bill for a package that, at the end of the day, does nothing to solve the fiscal crisis.
The people of my district want a balanced solution that deals with the national debt now by cutting wasteful spending in Washington; a solution that would provide long-term certainty to grow the economy, and get people back to work. A package that raises taxes, grows government, and punts on spending does not achieve these goals and is unacceptable. It's time the President and Congress do what is right-not what is easy-to fix the problem.
Medicare and Social Security are on the path to bankruptcy if we do not act to get spending under control, as are countless other safety nets and valuable programs. Washington cannot continue to mortgage our children and grandchildren's future by delaying or blocking every meaningful attempt to put our nation on a sustainable fiscal course. The time to act is now, and I will fight to get spending under control in this country, eliminate waste, and do what is responsible for future generations."