With passage of a modest bill to avert a tax increase for the large percentage of Americans, we have apparently averted the feared “fiscal cliff.” Actually, automatic across-the-board spending cuts have simply been deferred for two months. Thus, we have another fiscal cliff looming by March of 2013.
While the vote in the Senate was very strongly in favor of the tax measure, the outcome in the House of Representatives was much closer, but still supported by a large majority of Democrats and about one-third of Republicans. In the end the measure passed by comfortable margins in both houses of the Congress, but very few left the nation’s Capital happy with the outcome.
We can expect this poor mood to carry through to the next Congress. The current Congress, the 112th, accomplished less than any other Congress in the history of the republic. The next Congress, the 113th, will have more Democrats in both houses, and importantly fewer Tea Party Republicans. This does not necessarily mean that the legislative process will proceed more smoothly with the 113th Congress, but one is hopeful. It is difficult to imagine a worse record that the one produced by the 112th Congress.