The U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 8, the Tax Relief Extension Act, Tuesday night, a permanent extension of many Bush-era tax cuts by a vote of 257 to 167. The late-night vote was taken at 10:57 p.m.
The legislation keeps the Bush era tax cuts for individuals making less than $400,000 and couples making less that $450,000. It also makes permanent the fixes for the Alternative Minimum Tax and delays government spending cuts for two months.
Here's the breakdown of Northern Virginia's votes Tuesday on the so-called "fiscal cliff" legislation, which the Senate passed early Tuesday morning:
- Sen. Mark Warner: "yea"
- Sen. Jim Webb: "yea"
- Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th): "yea"
- Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th): "nay"
- Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th): "nay"
The legislation came to a vote Tuesday night in the House after it was passed by the Senate in the early hours Tuesday morning. Webb and Warner voted for the Senate measure. The Senate vote was 89 "yeas" and eight "nays." Three senators did not vote.
The votes were taken at the 11th hour, as a new Congress — including Virginia's new Senator-elect Tim Kaine — is set to be sworn in Thursday. Sen. Webb is retiring from the Senate.
"The Senate has acted to avoid the immediate fiscal cliff, but this negotiated agreement does little to address our deficits and it does not raise enough revenue to put our country on a path to reduce our long-term debt," Warner said in a statement.
"In coming weeks, we still must reach agreement on steps to generate more revenues, make additional spending cuts, and strengthen and reform our entitlement programs so successful programs like Medicare and Social Security will still exist 30 years from now," Warner noted.
In the House, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) voted against the measure.
“My opposition to the measure before the House tonight is rooted in my belief that the plan does not go far enough to address our nation’s fiscal issues. For more than six years, I have forcefully spoken out about the dire need to get our nation’s fiscal house in order," he said in a statement after the vote. "I have made thoughtful and serious recommendations for a way forward and have voted for substantial legislation to get our nation back on solid financial footing, including the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission recommendations."
“While I support the portions of the plan that extend tax cuts for most Americans, particularly the permanent relief of the Alternative Minimum Tax, I also know that at a time when our national debt is more than $16 trillion and climbing, the deal fails to seriously address government spending and entitlement reform. Regrettably, the bill actually includes hundreds billions of dollars in new spending," he said.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th) voted for the bill and indicated earlier Tuesday before the vote he would do so only by "holding my nose."
“This is not a perfect package, but it is something that gets us by until we can tackle the larger issues in the next Congress,” Connolly said. “I pray God that the next Congress is more willing to compromise than this one.”
Wolf added "until the President and Congress have the courage to deal with these issues we will never solve the problem. Too much is at stake for us to continue to kick the can down the road. It is time to get serious and make the tough – and right – decisions for our nation.”