House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., center, leaves a second Republican caucus meeting to discuss the "fiscal cliff" bill passed by the Senate Monday night_and now awaits a vote in the GOP-controlled House_ at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)(Credit: AP)
Missouri News Horizon
— The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday night to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff,” endorsing legislation to put off the scheduled sequester and make lower tax rates permanent for most Americans.
In the U.S. Senate early Tuesday morning, the bill garnered bipartisan support from 89 Senators, including Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Roy Blunt.
In the House, the bill faced strong opposition from conservatives, which stalled a vote until late Tuesday night. In the end, it passed the House, with support from all of the Democrats in Missouri’s congressional delegation, as well as U.S. Rep.’s Jo Ann Emerson and Blaine Luetkemeyer, both Republicans.
“Congress still must come together to make substantial spending cuts and true deficit reduction because we cannot afford not to do so,” said Luetkemeyer, who represents mid-Missouri in Congress. “At the end of the day, I voted for this bill because it was critical to reverse the largest tax increase in American history to the greatest extent possible.”
However, the rest of the Missouri Republicans felt differently. U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler said during an interview that she felt the bill — supported by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers — was not a “balanced approach.”
“It is all tax increases and no spending cuts, which is not what we need to get our economy growing,” she said. “It did have some good provisions in it, but overall, it did not put a break on the runaway spending that the people of my district sent me here to do.”
While it keeps taxes stable on lower earners, the bill raises taxes on individuals earning more than $400,000 a year, and is expected to raise nearly $600 billion over the next decade. The bill also holds off the scheduled spending cuts to military and entitlement spending for two months.
Despite making it to votes earlier in the evening, U.S. Rep. Sam Graves missed the vote on the fiscal cliff legislation late Tuesday night. A spokesman said he was “detained” and unable to make it to the floor before the vote closed. Graves did enter a statement into the record claiming he would have voted “no” on the bill.