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WASHINGTON D.C. — The House gave final approval to a Senate bill that will keep America from going over the so-called "fiscal cliff." Only one Utah lawmaker, Sen. Orrin Hatch, backed the last-minute deal.
Hatch said he reluctantly supported the bill because it sets a lower tax rate for most American taxpayers.
Tuesday night Rep. Jim Matheson tweeted, "Voted no on #fiscalcliff. I support tax cut provisions but sadly this bill has no mechanism to deal w/debt problems. More work needed - soon."
Rep. Jason Chaffetz tweeted, "Without substantial, real first year cuts in spending I can't vote for the bill passed by the Senate."
And Rep. Rob Bishop tweeted, "They just kicked it down the road for two months and I have no confidence that the administration or the Senate are serious about coming back and really solving this military funding problem."
Sen. Mike Lee also voted against the bill earlier Tuesday. He tweeted that, "Even the best #fiscalcliff deal will leave 99% of a dysfunctional system intact."
The bill passed on a bipartisan 257-167 vote in the House. It will:
- Prevent tax hikes for 98 percent of Americans
- Raise tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples
- Extend unemployment and middle class tax breaks
- Keep the alternative minimum tax from hitting working families
- Avoid a big cut in Medicare payments to doctors The Senate approved the measure on a vote of 89-8 less than 24 hours earlier. Supporters of the bill in both parties expressed regret that it was narrowly drawn, and fell far short of a sweeping plan that combined tax changes and spending cuts to reduce federal deficits. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., said, "Tax relief has been achieved. Now it is time for the president to work with Congress to address government over-spending." Even though 99 percent of Americans are protected from an income tax increase, most will still end up paying more federal taxes in 2013. The legislation did nothing to prevent the Social Security payroll tax reduction from expiring. This will affect 77 percent of Americans in 2013. The non-partisan Washington research group, The Tax Policy Center breaks it down like this: Households making between $40,000 and $50,000 a year face an average tax increase of $579. Those making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay an average tax increase of $822. Social Security is financed by a 12.4 percent tax on wages up to about $114,000 a year --- with employers paying half and workers paying the other half. Pres. Obama and Congress reduced the share paid by workers from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for 2011 and 2012, saving a typical family about $1,000 a year. Contributing: Nkoyo Iyamba and The Associated Press