Update: Senate Passes 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal


Legislation to negate a fiscal cliff of across-the-board tax increases and sweeping spending cuts to the Pentagon and domestic agencies is headed to the House.
The Senate approved the bill in an early-morning, 89-8 vote, capping a New Year's Eve drama unlike any other in the annals of Congress.
The White House-backed legislation would prevent middle-class taxes from rising, and raise rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples.
The measure ensures that lawmakers will have to revisit difficult budget questions in coming weeks as relief from painful spending cuts expires and the government requires an increase in its borrowing cap.
House Speaker John Boehner pointedly refrained from endorsing the agreement, though he's promised a vote on it or a GOP alternative right away.

Following is our report from late Monday:

The House of Representatives will not vote Monday night on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, so technically, we're going over.

As a practical matter, and after all the talk about a midnight deadline, it may not make much difference after all.

Most of a deal to avoid the effects of the cliff's tax increases emerged in negotiations Monday - an extension of tax cuts for families making less than $450,000 a year, an extension of unemployment benefits, a compromise on estate taxes.

But as of Monday night, there was still no deal between President Obama and Republicans on $109 billion in automatic spending cuts that are supposed to kick in starting Wednesday, and that will affect a large part of the economy, including defense spending - which could well affect Fort Drum.

The last minute negotiations, which dragged on through the holiday weekend, exposed a Congress that is having difficulty finding a majority for anything, with ideological splits in both the Republican and Democratic parties.

"Clearly, I'm very disappointed," north country Congressman Bill Owens said from Washington Monday evening. "It sounds like the deal that they'e made could have been done a month ago.

"This is not exactly ground-breaking in its content."

It's not clear when a vote can take place in the House - assuming the deal holds - but passage of legislation within the next 72 hours, a timetable under consideration, would eliminate or minimize any inconvenience for taxpayers.

- reported by 7 News & The Associated Press



Sunday, December 11, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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