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Blunt, McCaskill, Emerson Vote For 'Fiscal Cliff' Compromise; Long Votes 'No'


Lawmakers in Washington have passed a compromise to keep automatic tax increases and spending cuts from going into effect.  KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson reports on how members in Congress representing people in the Ozarks cast their ballots on the so-called “fiscal cliff” vote.

First, the deal:   it keeps tax rates basically the same as they were at the end of 2012 for most Americans, although individuals who earn more than $400,000 and households earning over $450,000 will see their taxes rise. The deal also allows taxes on capital gains and dividends to go up, and extends benefits of the unemployed.

The House of Representatives voted to pass the compromise, although many of the chamber’s more conservative Republicans voted “no” because they say the deal didn’t include enough spending cuts. One representative voting “no” was Missouri’s 7th Congressional representative, Republican Billy Long.

In a statement, Long said he voted no because, quote, “Squeezing more money from hard-working Americans does not address the real problem, which is out of control spending.”

In the Senate, Democrat Claire McCaskill voted for the tax package, saying in a statement that while it “isn’t perfect,” it protects middle class families. She added that she and other lawmakers have hard work ahead to address the budget deficit.

Her Republican counterpart, Senator Roy Blunt, also voted for the legislation, saying it will protect the vast majority of Missouri’s small businesses owners and farm families from tax hikes.

Also voting for the compromise legislation was Republican Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, who represents south-central and southeast Missouri.

While the tax package that Congress passed will protect 99 percent of Americans from an income tax increase, most American households will still end up paying slightly more in their Social Security payroll tax in 2013.  That’s because the compromise legislation didn’t address the expiration of that tax cut.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Davidson.