Biden to meet with House Democrats on ‘fiscal cliff’
WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden will return to Capitol Hill to meet with House Democrats to talk over the votes expected later Tuesday on the “fiscal cliff” deal that was negotiated in the Senate.
The closed-door meeting with the House Democratic caucus, scheduled for shortly after noon, is aimed at rallying votes in favor of the bill which passed the Senate in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. That package would halt income tax increases that otherwise would affect almost all Americans. It would allow taxes to go up for upper-income taxpayers, mostly those with taxable incomes above $450,000.
“There’s more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I’m willing to do it,” President Obama said in a statement following the Senate vote. “But tonight’s agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans.”
The deal marked the culmination of intensive negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, which were sped along by late talks spearheaded by Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that started Sunday.
McConnell, after lamenting the inaction so far in the talks, called on Biden to step in and “jump-start” the deal-making process, an effort that so far has resulted in progress, though the Senate deal is not without its critics.
Many House Republicans are expected to oppose the deal because of the tax increases it includes. Because of that, support from House Democrats will be needed for it to pass. A number of prominent liberal organizations have urged Democrats to vote no, arguing that the threshold for income-tax hikes has been set too high.
The House will likely not vote on the “fiscal cliff” until the afternoon, with routine votes planned until approximately 2:30 p.m. EDT.