Ringing in 2013 by falling into fiscal cliff
A quick look at the fiscal cliff's H.R. 8,
the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

Senate passes fiscal cliff deal

By an overwhelming 89-to-8 vote, the Senate OK'ed a fiscal cliff package around 2 a.m. ET on New Year's Day.

Senate approves fiscal cliff deal 89-8 Jan 1 2013

Yep, tax geeks were watching the 97 Senators vote live on C-SPAN2. And I was sober!

Five Republicans -- Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) -- and three Democrats -- Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) -- voted against the bill. 

Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) missed the vote.

As blogged earlier, the deal maintains the current income and investment tax rates for most U.S. taxpayers, patches permanently the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and extends several other popular individual and business tax breaks.

The deal now goes to the House, which convenes at noon today. It's expected to pass, but you never know with this collection of Representatives.

After some sleep, I'll give the package a closer look and share the notable specifics.

Congressional pay raise nixed: I'm particularly interested in one late addition to the fiscal cliff deal.

While federal workers are scheduled to get a 0.5 percent pay raise in March per a recent executive order signed by Obama, the Senate fiscal cliff deal reportedly contains a provision that would prevent members of Congress, who are officially federal employees, from getting their $900-per-lawmaker increase.

That's a little bit of good PR, but not nearly enough to make up for the atrocious way this Congress has conducted itself when it comes to legislation. But that's for another blog post.

Now to sleep, perchance to dream of fiscal cliff deals.

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