Congress approved new legislation to end the long drawn out drama in Washington and across the U.S. over the fiscal cliff. The new legislation was approved by the U.S. House of Representative late Tuesday after House Republicans finally surrendered to the demand made by President Barack Obama to allow taxes to increase for the richest households in the U.S.
The House vote was 257 to 167 in favor of the legislation, which then went to Obama for him to sign. The vote took place less than a day after the legislation was approved overwhelmingly by the U.S. Senate. John Boehner, the Speaker of the House and most other GOP leaders did not take any public position on the legislation and did not offer any public comment prior to the vote that took place at 10:45 pm.
Boehner did not even deliver his closing argument, as he left Republican Dave Camp, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee to defend the legislation as America’s largest tax cut in history.
The new legislation will shield millions in the middle class from increases in taxes that were set to go into effect in January. However, it also lets rates increase on investment profits and wages for those households that earn over $450,000 per year. It marked the first time in over two decades that tax increases on a broad scale had been approved thanks to support from the GOP.
The new measure also keeps flowing benefits to over 2 million Americans who are unemployed and were on the verge of having their federal checks stopped. It will also delay for another two months, cuts in the Pentagon and other federal agencies that were set to take place as of Wednesday.
GOP lawmakers in the end decided it was best not to gamble and possibly force the nation into tax increases that would leave Republicans to face the blame.