Congress Avoids the Fiscal Cliff >>

January 2nd, 2013

Congress Avoids the Fiscal Cliff

At 11:00 PM on New Years Day, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act, to avoid the fiscal cliff by a vote of 257 – 167. The deal emerged in the Senate late on New Years Eve. The Senate passed H.R. 8 at 2:00 AM Eastern Time on New Years Day, by a vote of 89 – 8. The President is expected to sign the measure.

Importantly for Indian country, the deal postpones the sequester for two months, to March 1, 2013, temporarily avoiding 8% cuts to tribal programs. The 113th Congress, which will be sworn in on January 3rd, must immediately begin work to agree upon more than $1 trillion to reduce the federal deficit through a package of defense and discretionary spending cuts, entitlement reforms, and additional revenue measures. That debate will also run up against the need to extend the debt ceiling.

The deal reached today includes more than 90 provisions that range from tax extensions, to emergency unemployment compensation, health care extensions, a Farm Bill extension, and as noted above, postponement of the sequester. For Tribes, the bill includes one-year extensions of the Indian employment tax credit, accelerated depreciation credit, Indian coal production credit, and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians.

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