Five things to know about the House’s fiscal cliff vote

January 2, 2013

Late Tuesday night, the House passed the Senate's fiscal cliff deal, 257 to 167, moving it to the president's desk. Here are five things worth noting about the vote:

1) The bill passed with more than twice as many Democratic votes as Republican ones: 172 Democrats and 85 Republicans voted for the bill. Only 16 Democrats joined the 151 Republicans who voted against it. 

2) Top Republicans were split on the vote: House Leader Eric Cantor, the second-ranking Republican, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) both voted against the bill, splitting with Speaker John Boehner and House Budget Chair Paul Ryan, who voted for it.

3) A few leading Democrats voted against it as well: Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), vice-chair of the House Democratic Caucus, was among the few Democrats to vote against the bill, along with some other progressives (Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-Ore.) and a few remaining Blue Dogs (Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah). 

4) The GOP defense of the bill is that it's a historic tax cut. The Democrat one is that it makes the tax code more progressive. In the final remarks on the floor before the vote was cast, House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (D-Mich.) declared that the bill "is the largest tax cut in American history," stressing that these changes would be "permanent tax provisions" (The original Bush tax cuts had a 10-year sunset period). On the other side, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) praised the bill's "elements of fairness" in his remarks before the vote. "This bill protects the middle class and working people with a more progressive tax code than we've had for a very long time," he said.

5) The bill sets up another fiscal fight two months from now: It suspends the sequester for only two months and doesn't address the debt ceiling, which means there will be another budget deadline looming come late February. 

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