The Slatest

House Approves Fiscal Cliff Deal

John Boehner
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) walks through Statuary Hall before entering the House Chamber to oversee a vote on ‘fiscal cliff’ legislation during a rare New Year’s Day session January 1, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

UPDATE: Putting away the brinkmanship, the House of Representatives voted 257-167 on Tuesday night to approve the Senate’s fiscal cliff bill, putting the measure on President Obama’s desk. The president is expected to speak on the legislation at 11:20 p.m. eastern.

The bill passed even though the majority of House Republicans voted against it, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Speaker John Boehner ultimately voted in favor, after agreeing with Cantor earlier in the day that he was concerned about the lack of spending cuts in the deal. (More on the deal’s contents here.) Here’s the partisan breakdown, via Politico:


Republicans: 85 yes, 151 no

Democrats: 172 yes, 16 no

Tuesday, Jan. 1, 3:56 p.m.: Oh boy. Reports out of Capitol Hill on Tuesday afternoon are that House Republicans, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, are leaning toward amending the Senate’s fiscal cliff bill to add spending cuts. In other words, by the time the markets open Wednesday, we could be hurtling down the cliff after all.


Here are a few of the warning signs:

  • “The lack of spending cuts in the Senate bill was a universal concern amongst members in today’s meeting,” said Cantor spokesman Rory Cooper, according to a tweet from the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack
  • A Boehner spokesman is now saying the same thing, according to TPM’s Sahil Kapur
  • House Finance Chair Spencer Bachus,* R-Alabama, said he would be “shocked” if the bill isn’t sent back to the Senate with amendments, according to Business Insider’s Grace Wyler
  • “When you talk about balance, you’ve got to provide responsible spending restraint for the long term. This bill doesn’t have that,” Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-New York, told CBS News’ Stephanie Condon on her way out of a Republican meeting

All of which makes Obama’s declaration of victory earlier Tuesday look either naive or extremely canny, depending on how you interpret its intent.

*Correction: This post originally misspelled Spencer Bachus’s last name.