Congress gave its final approval Tuesday to a bill halting massive tax hikes and delaying a risky round of spending cuts, sending the package to the president’s desk and likely averting for now an economy-stalling fiscal crisis. President Obama said he would sign it.
The 257-167 vote in the House came after a day of high drama on Capitol Hill, during which conservative House lawmakers voiced serious concern about the Senate bill’s lack of spending cuts. Rank-and-file Republicans initially predicted they would tinker with the package, raising the possibility the Senate would abandon it and nothing would get done before the new congressional class is seated Thursday.
But House leaders soon learned they did not have a majority behind any spending-cut plan, and allowed the straight vote. Far more Democrats supported the final bill than Republicans.
The result, once Obama signs it, is that tax hikes that technically kicked in Jan. 1 for most Americans would largely be halted.