America officially crosses over the ‘cliff’

January 1, 2013

As the clock struck midnight, America officially crossed over the "fisacal cliff, even if it were only to be a brief time, a day or two in which there was no freefall -- think of Wile E. Coyote in that moment that he is suspended in air waiting to know whether he falls to an untimely death, only to realize Congress was about to pass a law pulling him back from the brink.

At that moment, the Senate stood adjourned, waiting for an official estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

Inside the chamber, the only senator present was Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who months ago gave a fiery speech in which she suggested the best thing for America and Democrats was to go -- temporarily -- over the "fiscal cliff." Murray sat up in the visitor's gallery, with husband, quietly talking.

A handful of tourists were in another portion of the gallery, and a few staffers milled about on the Senate floor, waiting and waiting and waiting for the after-midnight vote.

Paul Kane covers Congress and politics for the Washington Post.
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