BALLGAME: House Passes GOP / White House Tax Deal

Posted: Dec 17, 2010 12:02 AM
Score one for the hostage takers.  The massive looming tax hikes that were scheduled to take effect January 1, 2011 have been blocked -- for all American families and small businesses.

In a bipartisan vote, the US House of Representatives has passed the much-discussed tax deal brokered by the White House and Congressional Republican leaders.  The final vote was 277 in favor, 148 against.  A vast majority of House Republicans voted for the deal, as did a majority of Democrats.  (139 Democrats voted to endorse Bush tax policies.  138 Republicans did the same).  Many more Democrats than Republicans voted no.  Among the GOP "no" votes were Bachmann, Pence, and Jeff Flake.  They made laudable, principled arguments against a flawed deal that other conservatives decided was acceptable, on balance.

At its core, the compromise extends all Bush income tax rates for two years and expands the eligibility window for unemployment benefits by 13 months.  A full rundown of the finer points of the bill and its "costs" (many conservatives argue that letting people keep more of their money does not constitute government spending) is available HERE.

The only drama of the evening was whether Earl Pomeroy's (D-ND) amendment to change the Estate Tax provisions of the compromise would succeed.  If it had, the agreement would have pinged back to the Senate, where it may have been in trouble.  Despite a series of angry, class warfare diatribes by House liberals leading up the vote, Pomeroy's amendment failed, clearing the way for final passage of the unvarnished deal.  The bill now heads to the president's desk for signature.

Hotair's Ed Morrissey summarizes the odd spectacle of tonight's vote:  "President Obama successfully whips Dem caucus to endorse Bush tax policy."

Slaying the omnibus beast and extending the Bush tax rates over the loud objections of the Left: Not a bad day's work for a minority party.

UPDATE: Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner applauds the bill's adoption:

“With nearly one in 10 Americans out of work, acting to ensure no American’s taxes go up on January 1st was critically important.  Failing to stop all the tax hikes would have destroyed more jobs and deepened the uncertainty in our economy.  Stopping all the tax hikes is a good first step in our efforts to reduce the uncertainty family-owned small businesses are facing, but much more needs to be done, including cutting spending, permanently eliminating the threat of job-killing tax hikes, and repealing the job-killing health care law.  These are critical priorities the new majority has pledged to act on in the next Congress, and I hope President Obama will listen to the American people and work with us to stop Washington’s job-killing policies.”

UPDATE II:  Here's the final roll.