The Washington Post

Details from cliff meeting

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) emerged briefly from the House Democratic caucus meeting and said Vice President Biden is providing a lengthy "point-by-point presentation" on the fiscal cliff plan that was passed by the Senate Tuesday morning.

Lee said Biden reminded his colleagues that by striking the deal, Democrats had successfully convinced Republicans to back a tax hike for upper-income Americans. Asked whether Democrats worried about raising tax rates for the first time in more than two decades, Lee said she wasn't concerned.

"I think we all came to that ultimate conclusion by way of the president's position in the November 6 election, that it wasn't an increase from the perspective of a negative, but because we made a commitment to raise revenue and protect the middle class."

But Lee said she's still not a guaranteed "yes" vote for the agreement until she's assured that other concessions weren't made to Republicans ahead of forthcoming negotiations over raising the federal debt ceiling.

"I want to make sure that we don't face in two months a hostage-taking on the debt ceiling. I voted for the debt ceiling, but a number of my colleagues did not. A hostage-taking on the debt ceiling, on the chained CPI and on spending cuts."

The Houston area lawmaker said she is most concerned about potential cuts in federal homelessness and housing aid programs that provide assistance to many of her constituents.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

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