WASHINGTON — House Republicans plan a closed-door meeting today to decide their next move after the Senate overwhelmingly approved compromise legislation negating a fiscal cliff of across-the-board tax increases and sweeping spending cuts to the Pentagon and other government agencies.
In a New Year’s Day drama that climaxed in the middle of the night, the Senate endorsed the legislation by 89-8 early today. That vote came hours after Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky sealed a deal.
It would prevent middle-class taxes from going up but would raise rates on higher incomes. It would also block spending cuts for two months, extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, prevent a 27 percent cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and prevent a spike in milk prices.
The measure ensures that lawmakers will have to revisit difficult budget questions in just a few weeks, as relief from painful spending cuts expires and the government requires an increase in its borrowing cap.
House Speaker John Boehner refrained from endorsing the agreement, though he’s promised a vote on it or a GOP alternative right away.
Boehner planned to brief his caucus early this afternoon, and Biden scheduled a separate meeting with House Democrats.