It's up to the Republican-controlled House to determine the fate of a last-minute deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.
The U.S. Senate passed the deal early this morning. The agreement, worked out between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, would prevent taxes from being raised on individuals making less than $400,000 per year. It also delays for two months steep spending cuts that were scheduled to take effect in the new year.
The bill passed 89 to 8 in the Senate with both of Minnesota's DFL senators — Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar — voting yes. Below are statements released by the senators' offices.
Sen. Al Franken's statement:
“I voted for this bill because it contains a number of very important provisions, including tax cuts for working and middle-income Minnesotans, an extension of unemployment insurance for so many Americans who are looking for work, and the production tax credits that mean so much to our state’s renewable energy producers. And it was crucial to me that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security beneficiaries were protected.
“There are some provisions I most certainly don’t like, particularly those in the extension of the Farm Bill: cuts in conservation and energy, and the gutting of the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program. But I’ll continue to work to pass a five-year Farm Bill this year so that Minnesota’s ag community has the support and certainty it needs.
“While I don’t think this package raises sufficient revenues toward paying down the debt or to make the investments in infrastructure, education, and research and development needed to grow our economy, I knew that no bill would have 100 percent of what I wanted, and I will continue to fight for the priorities that I believe will best serve Minnesota.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar's statement:
“I voted for this compromise because the last thing we should be doing this New Year’s is sticking middle class families with a tax hike. I fought for and wanted a larger, more comprehensive plan that balanced revenues and spending cuts. I will continue to push for a broader plan to reduce our debt and give businesses and families the certainty they need.”