WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate moved the U.S. economy back from the edge of a “fiscal cliff” on Tuesday, voting to avoid imminent tax hikes and spending cuts in a bipartisan deal that could still face stiff challenges in the House of Representatives.
In a rare New Year’s session at around 2 a.m. EST (0700 GMT), senators voted 89-8 to raise some taxes on the wealthy while making permanent low tax rates on the middle class that have been in place for a decade.
But the measure did little to rein in huge annual budget deficits that have helped push the U.S. debt to $16.4 trillion.
The agreement came too late for Congress to meet its own deadline of New Year’s Eve for passing laws to halt $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts which strictly speaking came into force on Tuesday.
Arlen Specter, member of the United States Senate from Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
PHILADELPHIA – Arlen Specter, 82, the longest-serving United States senator in Pennsylvania history, a driven, often contentious figure who placed himself at the center of national controversies for a half-century, from the Kennedy-assassination investigation in the 1960s to the passage of the economic stimulus package in 2009, died Sunday morning in his Philadelphia home.
Specter, who had served five terms before losing a re-election bid in 2010, died from complications of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
In light of the tragedy in Tucson and the very uncivil political climate in our country, I am pleased that our U.S. Senators will be showing the rest of America that Pennsylvania leads the pack when it comes to bipartisan cooperation!