A tax-cut compromise between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans – a harbinger of a new era of divided government in Washington – cleared the House around midnight Thursday, sending the $858 billion bill to the president’s desk.
The bill, which passed 277 to 148, provides a two-year extension for all tax cuts that were due to expire Dec. 31 – including for families earning more than $250,000 a year — and extends unemployment insurance benefits through next year. It also sets estate tax rates at 35 percent, with an exemption on the first $5 million.
In the end, the House vote wasn’t close, with 139 Democrats joining 138 Republicans to approve the bill. The Senate passed the bill comfortably as well Wednesday, 81 to 19.
The bill represented a major shift for Obama, as he abandoned an oft-repeated campaign promise that he would end the policy of cutting taxes for the wealthy. But the House Republican landslide in the midterm elections – a “shellacking,” Obama called it – forced the president to cut a deal so middle-class families didn’t see a tax hike on his watch, even though it infuriated his liberal base.
The political gamble has paid off for Obama, at least in the immediate term. Polls show the deal is widely popular with Americans, and it has allowed Obama to put space between himself and the liberals in his party – not least congressional Democrats. He has opened an avenue to portraying himself as the reasonable consensus-builder that he promised to be in the heart of his 2008 campaign, something his team seems eager to do after two bruising years marked by the messy fight over health care.
Read more – Tax cut plans clears House, on to Barack Obama
C-SPAN House Passes Tax Cut Legislation 277-148
Despite opposition from some Democrats, the House passed the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853) by a vote of 277-148. It will now go to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
Yesterday, the Senate approved the $858 billion tax plan, by a vote of 81 to 19. The measure (HR 4853), negotiated by President Obama and Senate Republicans, would allow tax cuts for all income levels to continue for two years and extend unemployment insurance benefits for jobless Americans for 13 months.
The Senate will continue debate on the START Treaty tomorrow and consider a short-term continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded past midnight on Saturday.
Hot Air – House Tax cuts play by play
Update: At 11:37 p.m., Pomeroy’s amendment is down in flames. As I write this, it’s 190-230. All Republicans thus far have voted no, along with 59 Democrats. Not close, really; I’ll bet the Blue Dogs savored every minute of sticking it to the left after last month’s election.
Now it’s on to a vote on the final bill. With the margin on this vote this wide, there’s practically no chance that that one will fail.
Update: Final tally on Pomeroy’s amendment is 194-233. Now onto the big one.
Update: It’s a merry Christmas for The One. 225-120 as I write this, which is already more than enough for a majority with almost 100 congressmen still to vote. The GOP delivered big for Obama, with 120 yeses thus far compared to only 28 no’s. Among Democrats, it’s 114 to 96 at the moment. Stand by for the final tally and, eventually, the roll.
Update: Ed’s suggested headline on Twitter: “President Obama successfully whips Dem caucus to endorse Bush tax policy.” In fact, they’re already at 269 yeses with a few minutes left to go in the vote. Dave Weigel notes that the original Bush tax cuts passed with only 230 yeses. Progress!
Update: A total landslide as the gavel comes down: 277-148. Among Democrats, it’s 139 yea and 112 nay. Among the GOP, 138 versus just 36. Stand by for the roll to see how everyone voted.
Update: Ed notes, per the final tally, that more Democrats ended up voting to extend the Bush tax cuts than Republicans did. Progress, the sequel!
Update: The roll should be available as a link at the top of the calendar here sometime during the next hour.
Update: I think this is the roll, but the bill title is wrong. Assuming I’m right, a brief but incomplete list of prominent Republicans voting no: Michele Bachmann, Joe Barton, Jason Chaffetz, Jeff Flake, Pete Hoekstra, Steve King, Thad McCotter, Mike Pence, John Shadegg, and Joe Wilson. A few Republicans voting yes: Marsha Blackburn, John Boehner, John Boozman, Eric Cantor, David Dreier, Jeb Hensarling, Darrell Issa, Peter King, Ron Paul, Paul Ryan, and Pete Sessions. Oh, and Dennis Kucinich voted … yes.
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