President Pleased With Passage Of Legislation To Prevent Fiscal Cliff, But Says More Still Needs To Be DoneWASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says an effort to change the nation's tax code that is too skewed toward the wealthy has been achieved with the "fiscal cliff" deal approved in Congress.
The president said in an appearance late Tuesday in the White House that the House vote to prevent a mix of tax increases and spending cuts avoids a problem that could have sent the economy back into recession. Obama says the deficit is "still too high" and warns that he will not negotiate with Congress over another increase in the nation's debt ceiling.
The House approved Senate-backed legislation 257 to 157 New Year's night preventing middle-class tax increases and spending cuts that technically took effect with the new year. The Senate had passed the bill less than 24 hours earlier. It represented a triumph for Obama after he campaigned for re-election on higher taxes on the wealthy.
The measure raises tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples. It also extends expiring unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, prevents a cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and cancels a $900 pay increase due to lawmakers in March. Another provision is designed to prevent a spike in milk prices.
Illinois Republican Congressmen John Shimkus and Tim Johnson were among those voting for the legislation along with Democrat Jerry Costello. The entire Illinois Democrat delegation voted for the Fiscal Cliff legislation while Republican Congressman Randy Hultgren, Peter Roskam, Bobby Schilling and Joe Walsh cast no votes.
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