House of Representatives passes fiscal cliff bill

Updated: 2013-01-02 12:32


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WASHINGTON -  The US House of Representatives passed a Senate bill Tuesday night, giving the final congressional approval to the bipartisan compromise to avert the "fiscal cliff".

After a long day of deliberation, the bill was adopted on a 257-167 vote and thus is ready for US President Barack Obama's signature.

The measure, overwhelmingly endorsed by the Democrat-led Senate in the early morning, would extend current tax rates for most American households and postpone the automatic spending cuts for two months.

The passage ended weeks of political bickering around the fiscal crisis but left many issues unsolved.

House of Representatives passes fiscal cliff bill

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (C) walks from the House chamber after a vote on resolving the "fiscal cliff" on Capitol Hill in Washington Jan 1, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

Key points in bill passed by Congress to avert US 'fiscal cliff'

The US House of Representatives approved a Senate bill on Tuesday night to avert $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff." Here are details:  

  * Postpones the first installment of automatic spending cuts for two months while Congress works on a plan replace them.

   * Raises $620 billion in revenue over 10 years through a series of tax increases on wealthier Americans.

   * Permanently extends tax cuts enacted in 2001 under former Republican President George W. Bush for income below $400,000 per individual, or $450,000 per family. Income above that level would be taxed at 39.6 percent, up from the current top rate of 35 percent.

   * Above that income threshold, capital gains and dividends tax rates would return to 20 percent, from 15 percent.

   * Caps personal exemptions and itemized deductions for income above $250,000, or $300,000 per household.

   * Raises estate tax rate to 40 percent for estates of more than $10 million per couple, up from the current level of 35 percent.

   * Includes a permanent fix for the alternative minimum tax.

   * Extends unemployment insurance benefits for one year for 2 million people.

   * Extends child tax credit, earned income tax credit, and tuition tax credit for five years.

   * Extends research and experimentation tax credit, and the wind production tax credit through the end of 2013. Extends 50 percent bonus depreciation for one year.

   * Avoids a cut in payments to doctors treating patients on Medicare - the "doc fix."