The Senate early on New Year’s Day voted overwhelmingly in favor of a fiscal cliff deal that would extend tax rates on annual household income under $450,000 and postpones automatic spending cuts for two months.
The bill was approved in an 89-8 vote that came after only 10 minutes of formal floor debate and no official score from the Congressional Budget Office. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated it would reduce federal revenue by $3.93 trillion over the next decade compared to current law.
Five Republicans and three Democrats voted against the bill: Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) missed the vote.
The legislation would permanently extend the Bush-era income tax rates on individual income up to $400,000 and family income up to $450,000. It permanently sets the estate tax rate at 40 percent, up from 35 percent, and exempts inheritances below $5 million.
It would postpone the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester for two months and offsets the $24 billion cost of the delay with a mix of spending cuts and new revenues. The measure would also extend unemployment benefits for one year without offsetting their impact on the deficit, preventing 2 million people from losing government assistance.