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What's holding up a House vote on the fiscal cliff deal?

The U.S. Capitol illuminated at dusk on Capitol Hill on December 31, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

UPDATE: The House voted late Tuesday night to approve a fiscal cliff deal by a tally of 257-167.


The fiscal cliff drama has now shifted to the House, where members are still debating the details of the Senate bill. Bottom line: it raises taxes on some wealthy Americans and it puts off deep spending cuts for another few months.  Marketplace's Nancy Marshall-Genzer has been following the drama and discusses the latest news.

"Once again there is gridlock on Capitol Hill. I know you're shocked. Leaders of both parties are trying to get their troops in line. They're trying to support the bill the Senate passed in the very wee hours of this morning. Vice President Biden met with House Democrats today, and he actually camped out for a while," says Marshall-Genzer. "Democrats came out of that meeting today saying it was a very bipartisan bill that was passed in the Senate. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said they were ready to vote on the Senate bill."

But there hasn't been a House vote yet. The main hang-up at this point: some House Republicans say they don't like the Senate bill.

"House Speaker John Boehner has not taken a public position on the bill. Apparently in the meetings that were held today with House GOP members he really didn't say much. He did a lot of listening. Apparently he got a lot of complaints about the Senate bill. But the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says he does not support the Senate bill. He actually has come out and said that. A number of House Republicans have complained the Senate bill doesn't cut spending enough, that it focuses too much on tax increases," says Marshall-Genzer.

"Now I know that we do focus on the numbers here at Marketplace, but you have to look behind the numbers a little bit. Yeah they say that they're concerned that the Senate bill doesn't focus enough on cutting spending, but many of these members of Congress are getting a lot of pressure from their districts. Many of their districts are very polarized and the members are afraid that if they're perceived as stepping out of line by voting for the Senate bill that they'll pay later," adds Marshall-Genzer.

Marshall-Genzer says one scenario that could happen: The House could amend the Senate bill and send it back for approval. Meanwhile, what does this mean for taxpayers?

"We did go over the fiscal cliff this morning, so our taxes have already gone up. The Senate bill would have only raised taxes on families making more than $450,000 a year or individuals with incomes over $400,000, but of course that bill is still in limbo. So everybody's taxes have gone up -- technically. That includes the Social Security payroll tax," says Marshall-Genzer.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.
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You are correct, charda01. In fact, the first recipient of Social Security contributed only $24 into the scheme, but received over $22,000 over the course of her life!!!

in Word, F7 is spell check, "tehcnically"

Just wish they would take all of us in mind and not their party...

Let me be the first to point out the flaw as an employer. I am already competing with the majority of employers in my industry who cheat on taxes and insurance. My legal workers cost me 40% more than their illegal workers. Now I will deduct 2% more for my employee’s share of the new SS rate. And I will pay 2% more for the employer's share. The worker wants cash, even if they do have a SS number - many have proper ss numbers, contrary to popular belief. The customer does not mind paying cash, if the price is cheaper. My industry is home improvements, but workers in many industries are paid in cash. So its 4% and it won't be collected from a high percentage of American workers. Marketplace doesn’t seem to have the time to find out how many workers or how many dollars.

Let me be the first to point out the absurd flaw in Ms. Marshall-Genzer's unsolicited advice, care of her mother, for employees whose payroll tax is about to go up. The money is NOT in fact going to the retirement of those who pay it since Social Security is a pay-as-you-go scenario. I am shocked that Ms. Marshall-Genzer is presenting herself as an economic policy reporter, and yet seems clueless of that fact. There is, in fact, NO guarantee that current payees will receive the same rates of return that current beneficiaries have. Moreover, there is a very strong movement among just those same people who are taking us over the fiscal cliff, to cut these benefits for future retirees, regardless of what they pay now into the system. (Remember Romney promising to protect current retirees benefits, but remaining deadly silent on benefits for those who will retire in the next ten years, to say nothing of those who are much younger and may be paying for nothing but their grandparents?) Genzer's comment trivialized a crucial debate in this country, or should I say two crucial debates, and, apparently, she felt that the holiday gave her carte blanche to say stupid, irrelevant, inaccurate things. I used to be able to count on NPR to avoid gross distortion and obvious mistatements of fact. You used to have a higher standard. Ms. Genzer's amateur reporting falls far short of such a standard.

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