After many House Republicans spent the day maligning their Senate colleagues who had voted for the bill — saying they must have been “drunk,” “sleep-drived” or “blurry-eyed” to vote for such a deal — some appeared to come to the same conclusion: that an imperfect deal was better than no deal at all.
“The plan isn’t perfect, but I would not sit by as taxes go up on all Americans,” said Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee, in a statement following the vote.
But Rep. Trent Franks, speaking to reporters after the vote, described it as a result of “left-wing ideology that completely ignores arithmetic and tries to repeal the laws of mathematics.”
Cantor spokesman Rory Cooper told reporters after the vote that “the Leader is proud to keep fighting the good fight and continuing to work on the real problem that is facing Washington, which is spending.”
“The Majority Leader was not happy with the bill that was passed out of the senate this morning. … He worked all day today to try to craft an alternative, as did the rest of leadership and many members of our conference,” Cooper went on. “It was clear that Harry Reid was not gonna allow an amendment to cut spending even though that was sorely needed, so Leader Cantor is very proud of Speaker Boehner and our entire conference for fighting the good fight.”
The passage of the deal averts the fiscal cliff before markets open on Wednesday. Avoiding a market impact was a main selling point for a number of Republicans in the caucus meetings who had initially wanted to push the bill.
The deal prevents taxes from rising on individuals making less than $400,000 a year and couples making less than $450,000 a year. It permanently patches the Alternative Minimum Tax to prevent it from hitting middle class Americans and keeps the estate tax from going up. The sequester is postponed for two months, with offsets to the spending cuts it would have enacted.
Though the fiscal cliff was averted, the issue is not over and done with. The sequester and the debt ceiling still hang over the Congress, and Boehner made clear that in a statement following the vote that the new Congress would focus its efforts on passing the spending cuts they failed to get on Tuesday.
“Now the focus turns to spending,” the speaker siad. “The American people re-elected a Republican majority in the House, and we will use it in 2013 to hold the president accountable for the ‘balanced’ approach he promised, meaning significant spending cuts and reforms to the entitlement programs that are driving our country deeper and deeper into debt.”