For all the pissing and moaning over the fiscal cliff, there was never much of a "cliff" in the first place. Worse yet, every delay made matters increasing irresponsible in terms of addressing the deficit.
The final result, as passed by the Senate, watered down budget cuts from $600 billion to a mere $12 billion.
Moreover, the extension of the tax cuts will add almost $4 trillion to the deficit over 10 years according to CBO analysis of the American Taxpayer Relief Act.
Nonetheless, that was not enough for liberal democrats who thought they did not get enough out of the deal.
In a rare late-night show of unity, the Senate voted 89 to 8 to raise some taxes on the wealthy while keeping income taxes low on more moderate earners.
Republicans, unhappy that the bill contained over $600 billion in tax increases but only around $12 billion in spending cuts, said they may change it more to their liking and send it back to the Senate. Party leaders planned to take the temperature of rank-and-file lawmakers over the afternoon before deciding on a course of action.
"My recommendation would be not to take a package put together by a bunch of sleep-deprived octogenarians on New Year's Eve," said Representative Steve LaTourette, a moderate Republican from Ohio who is a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner.
"My district cannot afford to wait a few days and have the stock market go down 300 points tomorrow if we don't get together and do something," Representative Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, said on the House floor.
The White House has floated $600 billion worth of spending cuts in earlier negotiations, and Obama said he would be willing to tackle deficit reduction over the coming months.
"There's more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I'm willing to do it," he said in a statement urging the House to pass the current bill.
Republican Representative Tom Cole said his House colleagues should pass the Senate bill rather than try to change it.
"We ought to take this deal right now, and we'll live to fight another day," Cole said on MSNBC.
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