House debate begins on ‘fiscal cliff’ bill

January 1, 2013

Debate has begun in the House of Representatives on the bill to avert a series of tax increases and spending cuts, with Republicans trying to cast the measure as a win for their party and American taxpayers.

The debate comes after the chamber voted 408-to-10 to proceed on considering the measure; both Democrats and Republicans were among the 10 lawmakers voting "no."

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, said the fiscal cliff bill will "make permanent tax policies Republican originally crafted."

Camp noted that the tax cuts for Americans earning less than $400,000 were first enacted as a temporary measure during George W. Bush's presidency.

"Back then, despite having the majority of the House and the majority of the Senate and Republican in the White House, those policies were only temporary," he said. "That's because Democrats refused to join Republicans."

But Camp noted that "after more than a decade ... Democrats are finally joining with Republicans in making these tax cuts permanent. Republicans and the American people are getting something really affordable: Permanent tax relief."

Camp urged his colleagues to vote for the measure, saying that "we're one step closer to comprehensive tax reform," an issue he plans to pursue in the new session of Congress.

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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Ed O'Keefe | January 1, 2013