The House of Representatives voted late Tuesday night to pass the Senate's bill to prevent income tax hikes from hitting American families making less than $450,000 (and individuals making less than $400,000). The deal also raises the capital gains tax for high-earners, increases the estate tax on the wealthy, repeals a piece of Obamacare known as the CLASS Act, and delays automatic budget cuts (known as sequestration) for two months.
The bill, which sailed through the Senate on an 89-8 vote, passed the House 257 to 161. Only 85 House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, voted for it, while 151 GOP congresmen, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, voted against it. House Republicans considered adding spending cuts to the bill and sending it back to the Senate, but when it became clear there were not 218 Republican votes for such an amendment, Boehner decided to bring the Senate bill up for a vote as is.
"As elected officials, we have a duty to apply our principles to the realities of governing," Paul Ryan said in a statement following Tuesday's vote. "And we must exercise prudence. We must weigh the benefits and the costs of action—and of inaction. In H.R. 8, there are clearly provisions that I oppose. But the question remains: Will the American people be better off if this law passes relative to the alternative? In the final analysis, the answer is undoubtedly yes. I came to Congress to make tough decisions—not to run away from them."
The split over the deal between Paul Ryan and Florida senator Marco Rubio, two likely 2016 presidential candidates, immediately set off speculation that the deal could be a big issue in the next GOP presidential primary. But Buzzfeed reports that Rubio actually defended his Republican colleagues who voted for the deal. "Taxes went up today automatically, so Republicans didn't vote to raise taxes," Rubio said.