In the last minutes of 2012, the Republicans and Democrats finally decided on a deal that would keep us away from the fiscal cliff, and last night that deal was passed in the House.
For the first time since 1993,
In the vote, 172 Democrats and 85 Republicans favored the bill; 16 Democrats and 151 Republicans opposed it. The plan maintains tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 per year and couples making less than $450,000. As promised, the bill will raise tax rates for those who make more and it also extends unemployment insurance and delays two months of automatic cuts in federal spending.
In the hours after the deal was reached, world markets rose and U.S. stocks are predicted to rise as well.
But more money for middle class, unemployment and even stocks doesn't have everyoe celebrating.
Amid all the melodrama, some questions remain about the bill, which President Obama will sign into a law, yet few answers have surfaced on how to solve the problems.
According to CNN:
It doesn't mention the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling that the United States reached Monday.
It also puts off the so-called sequester, cuts in federal spending that would have taken effect Wednesday and reduced the budgets of most agencies and programs by 8% to 10%.
In addition, the bill raises the threshold for higher taxes, putting President Obama between a rock and a hard place when it comes to pleasing the GOP:
While the deal gives Obama bragging rights for raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, it also leaves him breaking a promise.
Obama had vowed to raise tax rates for the top-earning 2% of Americans, including those with household income above $250,000 and individuals earning more than $200,000.
Doesn't seem like a bad decision, after all, this means less Americans will be affected. But only 0.6 percent have incomes above $500,000, according to the Tax Policy Center. That means taxes go up on the top wealthiest percentage, something Republicans aren't happy with.
But Obama has something for those who think this deal comes with more problems than good. Next time, don't wait until the last minute:
"While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they've already racked up through the laws that they've passed," he said after the Tuesday night vote.
"We can't not pay bills that we've already incurred. If Congress refuses to give the United States government the ability to pay these bills in time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic -- far worse than the impact of the fiscal cliff."