Pulling back from the cliff: House passes compromise measure

Afterhoursofpoliticalwrangling,HouseleadersagreedtotakeupaSenate-passedcompromisemeasure,whichultimatelypassedwithbipartisan--ifreluctant--support.Thevotewas257-167.
Thebill’sprovisionsinclude:

?Highertaxesonindividualsearning$400,000ormoreandfamiliesmaking$450,000ormore.
?Ariseintaxratesoncapitalgainsanddividendsforwealthierhouseholds.Taxesoncapitalgainsanddividendswouldbeheldattheircurrentlevelsof15percentforindividualsmakinglessthan$400,000andhouseholdswithincomeoflessthan$450,000.Theywouldriseto20percentfortaxpayersandhouseholdsabovethosethresholds.
?Adelayinautomaticspendingcutsfortwomonths.Theprocess,knownassequestration,wouldhaveimposedsteep,across-the-boardcutstodomesticanddefenseprograms.
PassageofthebillbybothhousesofCongresssetsthestageforanotherdebateattheendofFebruaryoverincreasingthefederaldebtceiling,avoidingthesequesterandprovidingfull-yearfundingforfederalagencies.ThegovernmentiscurrentlyoperatingunderacontinuingresolutionlastinguntillateMarch.
“Thislawisonemorestepinthebroaderefforttostrengthenoureconomyandbroadenopportunity,"PresidentObamasaidafterthebill'spassage.
Federallaborunionleaderscriticizedtheagreement.
“Theproposedfiscalcliffsolutionisabaddealforfederalemployees,”saidWilliamR.Dougan,presidentoftheNationalFederationofFederalEmployees.“Themostimportantfederalworkforceissueofourgeneration--sequestration--continuestohangovertheheadoffederalemployeesthroughoutgovernment.Furthermore,thefailuretoaddressthenation’sborrowinglimitwilllikelyleadtoanotherprolongedpoliticalstandoff,leavingfederalworkersuncertainofwhethertheywillhaveajobtocomebacktoforathirdtimeintwoyears.”
AmericanFederationofGovernmentEmployeesPresidentJ.DavidCoxsaid,“WhilewearegladtoseeabillthatrequiresthewealthiestAmericansbegintopayafairershareoftaxes,AFGEmembersareveryconcernedabouttheuseofadditionalagencyfundingcutsinordertopayforthedelayofthesequester.Howagencieswillachievetheseamountsisnotclearinthelanguageofthebill.”
NationalTreasuryEmployeesUnionPresidentColleenM.Kelleysaid,"whiletheoperationsofgovernmentwillnotimmediatelychange,federalagenciescontinuetofacereductionsinresourcesfortheremainderoffiscal2013.ThesecutswillimpactfederalagenciesandtheirabilitytoprovideservicestotheAmericanpublicincludingfoodanddrugsafety,bordersecurity,nuclearregulation,andmuchmore."


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