Fiscal Cliff Jan 1 2013, Budget Control Act
|January 1st, 2013, 03:47 PM||#41 (permalink)|
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Jan 1 (3:25 p.m. ET)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House, declared his opposition to the Senate-passed "fiscal cliff" deal today, potentially putting the deal in peril.
"I do not support the bill," Cantor said walking out of a conference meeting in which House Republicans discussed the "fiscal cliff" deal passed in the Senate overnight.
A number of other House Republicans today expressed serious concerns about the lack of spending cuts in the Senate bill. "Don't think this is a done deal," one GOP aide warned CBS News early Tuesday afternoon.
Heading into today's meetings, some GOP members said they would vote against the deal because it does nothing to curb spending, a key priority for them, CBS News' Jill Jackson reports. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report today estimating that the Senate bill would add $329 billion to deficits in 2013 and $3.9 trillion to deficits over the next 10 years, relative to current law.
"What we want is to do what's best for the American people," Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-N.Y., said on her way out of one Republican meeting. "When you talk about balance, you've got to provide responsible spending restraint for the long term. This bill doesn't have that."
Other Republicans said they would vote for the Senate bill because it represents the best deal possible and takes the president's best leverage -- taxes -- off the table. It locks in the Bush-era tax rates for more than 98 percent of Americans and sets the stage for a major negotiation over spending cuts in the next two months.
Lawmakers hope to resolve any uncertainty over the so-called "fiscal cliff" before financial markets reopen Wednesday, but House Republican leaders have refrained from endorsing the Senate bill and have yet to put it up for a vote.
"We're waiting here on the House doing something finally on the cliff, we hope," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a brief appearance on the Senate floor today.
In today's House Republican Conference meetings, "Leadership is currently listening to the members so as to figure out the best path forward," an aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told CBS News.
Republican leaders have said they will bring the bill to the floor, but they are reserving the right to amend it. Amending the bill and sending it back to the Senate could create some major complications.
The Senate in the early morning hours of the new year passed a bill to let income tax rates rise on income over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples. The measure also extends unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, prevents a 27 percent cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and prevents a spike in milk prices.
However, the Senate bill stalls debate over one important aspect of the "fiscal cliff" for just a matter of weeks. The so-called "sequester" cuts, which amount to $1.2 trillion over 10 years (and about $109 billion this year alone), were set to slap the Pentagon and domestic programs starting this week. The Senate bill allocates $24 billion in spending cuts and new revenues to defer the "sequester" cuts for two months, ensuring Congress would have to debate the issue later this year.
"We're kicking the can down the road," one House Republican, Rep. Darrell Issa of California, said on the House floor today.
"I may vote for what comes on the floor," Issa said, but he added that it wouldn't be a proud moment, calling the legislation, "the smallest finger in a dike that in fact has hundreds of holes in it."
CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes reports that Democrats expect almost all of their members to vote in favor of the deal, though their caucus is not thrilled with the Senate bill, either. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., on the House floor today called the expected vote on the measure a "hold-your-nose vote."
Vice President Joe Biden, who brokered the deal with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, met with House Democrats in a closed-door meeting for about 90 minutes today.
Eric Cantor: "I do not support" the "cliff" deal - CBS News