On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a Senate bill that temporarily brings the U.S. back from the depths of the fiscal cliff. The 257-167 vote largely fell along partisan lines: 172 Democrats voted yes and 16 Democrats voted no; 151 Republicans voted no and 85 Republicans voted yes. Speaker of the House John Boehner was one person who voted in favor of the legislation while other top GOP leaders like Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy voted against the legislation. The deal means couples earning less than $450,000 a year are spared an income tax hike.
The legislation also means that itemized deductions are capped for couples making over $300,000 a year and unemployment benefits are extended for a year for 2-million Americans. Another key piece addressed in the bill is the alternative minimum tax which gets a permanent adjustment for inflation. Jen Psaki served as the Traveling Press Secretary for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign. She joins “Starting Point” this morning to weigh in on the fiscal cliff deal.
Psaki says that while there is no question “that everyone in the White House, the president included is happy to have this vote in the rearview mirror,” lawmakers are still gearing up to face a number of other obstacles in the coming months. She says, “making sure that the congress votes to increase the debt limit is not the president’s and the White House’s idea of a second term agenda.” Psaki adds the president still has the American people behind him and “has been very tough in negotiating and making clear to the American people” what the stakes are moving forward.
Responding to democratic skeptics of the deal Psaki says “there’s a lot that progressive democrats…should be excited about in this package,” like making the middle-class tax cut permanent. She adds, “of course it wasn’t perfect but democrats have to be careful about not letting perfect be the enemy of the good and this package is good.”