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Congress avoids fiscal cliff

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WASHINGTON — In a New Year’s night vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “fiscal cliff” compromise bill from the U.S. Senate.

The bill passed in the House by a vote of 257 to 167. The fiscal cliff agreement extends and makes permanent low tax rates for individuals earning up to $400,000 per year and families earning $450,000 per year.

The bill levees higher taxes on upper income Americans, which the President wanted.

Many Republicans were against the bill because it provides no net cuts in spending.

Congressman James Lankford (R) was the only representative from Oklahoma to vote against the fiscal cliff bill.

Senators Jim Inhofe (R) and Tom Coburn (R) both voted for the measure in the Senate.

Representatives Dan Boren (D), Tom Cole (R), Frank Lucas (R) and John Sullivan (R) voted in favor of the measure in the House.

Congressman Lankford issued this statement on his Facebook page:

“I did not support the bill because it dos not move us toward a solution for our nation’s biggest problem: the national debt. Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Congressman Tom Cole released this statement:

“This agreement is far from perfect, but preventing the largest tax increase in history and making tax cuts permanent for 98 percent of taxpayers is a major victory for American workers and for the economy. While I would prefer a combination of tax cuts and spending cuts, passage of this bill lays the groundwork for significant spending reductions in the coming weeks. With tax rate increases off the table, President Obama and Senate Democrats will be forced to confront reality and accept spending and entitlement reforms. Passage of permanent tax relief ensures that the upcoming budget debates will be solely focused on spending restraint. Congress will have three significant opportunities in the next three months to reduce the deficit when we debate the debt ceiling, the across-the-board sequestration cuts, and the government funding bill that expires in March. The fiscal cliff is certainly not the last debate we’ll have over spending, but it is the last time President Obama will be able to threaten massive tax increases to avoid addressing the real causes of our debt.”