The bill passed the Senate early Tuesday morning by an overwhelming 89-8 vote. It was crafted as a compromise between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden over the weekend.
House Republicans had threatened to add over $300 billion in spending cuts as an amendment to the bill, but the Senate said it wouldn't accept an amended bill.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the bill will add $329 billion to the deficit this year, and $3.9 trillion over the next 10 years. The fact that the bill raises spending instead of decreasing it was a major reason a number of House Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, voted against the bill.
Here are some highlights of the compromise:
- Taxes remain the same for individual Americans making less than $400,000 a year, and couples making less than $450,000.
- Capital gains and dividend taxes will increase from 15% to 20%.
- Unemployed workers will receive benefits that expired over the weekend.
- A scheduled salary bump for Congress is halted.
Representatives from our area generally voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Tom Reed, Rep. Louise Slaughter, and Rep. Kathy Hochul all voted yes. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle released a statement saying she was listed as "not voting" due to an electronic error. She recorded a "no" vote on the legislation for the Congressional Record.