By a final vote of 257-167, the House of Representatives has approved the Senate fiscal cliff deal. The bill will go straight to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law promptly.
The legislation takes steps toward resolving the combination of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that took effect at midnight on Jan. 1. As NBC reports, the legislation preserves tax rates as they were at the end of 2012, except for those individuals earning more than $400,000 and households earning over $450,000. It also allows taxes on capital gains and dividends to go up, and extends benefits of the unemployed. Additionally, the Senate bill delays the onset of the "sequester" — the swift, automatic spending cuts — for two months.
The House vote laid bare some of the internal ideological divisions to plague the GOP over the past two years. More Republican congressmen (151) voted against the deal than for it (85), meaning that Democrats' support was needed to advance the final deal. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, took the rare step of casting a vote, and did so in favor of the deal. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the former Republican vice presidential nominee, also supported the package. But Boehner's top two lieutenants, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., each opposed the deal.