The "fiscal cliff" deal passed in the Senate struck strong opposition among U.S. House Republicans Tuesday, clouding prospects for immediate passage.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., after a behind doors meeting with fellow Republicans, said he opposed the Senate legislation, which lets taxes rise on upper income households, The Washington Post reported.
Canter forcefully expressed his opposition behind closed doors, and other Republicans did the same, the report said.
The Post said Cantor's opposition probably derails any fast House passage of the Senate bill without amendments. But the Senate is in recess, and the current Congress ends Thursday.
Earlier Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner wrangled support for a vote on a fiscal cliff compromise in the face of mounting Republican opposition.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated the measure will add nearly $4 trillion to the U.S. debt in the next 10 years because of lost revenue or payments on refundable tax credits, Politico reported.
"There's not a lot of support for the bill as is. I personally hate it," Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., told The New York Times. "The speaker the day after the election said we would give on taxes, and we have, but we wanted spending cuts. This bill has spending increases. Are you kidding me?"
Biden met with House Democrats, the Los Angeles Times reported. Some liberal groups have been calling on them to reject the compromise on the grounds that the threshold for tax increases is too high.
"It is clear that the vice president and the president are convinced that they have done the right thing. They don't see it as a perfect deal though, and nobody else does," Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., told The New York Times.
Boehner, R-Ohio, has about 100 reliable votes among the 241 members of the Republican caucus, The Hill said. He is hoping to get a majority of Republicans to support the bill.
The Senate compromise would extend current tax rates for the middle class and delay automatic spending cuts. There were 10 minutes of floor debate and no scoring from the Congressional Budget Office, The Hill said.
The deal hammered out by Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would permanently extend tax rates lowered during President George W. Bush's administration on individual income up to $400,000 and family income up to $450,000. The lower Bush-era tax rates for higher incomes would expire and return to the higher rates in effect during President Bill Clinton's administration.
It also would permanently set the estate tax rate at 40 percent, an increase from 35 percent, and would exempt inheritances of less than $5 million, The Hill said. It would postpone the automatic spending cuts for two months and offset the delay's $24 billion cost with a combination of spending cuts and new revenues. The measure also would extend unemployment benefits for one year without offsetting their impact on the deficit and prevent a hike in congressional pay.
"Leaders from both parties in the Senate came together to reach an agreement that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support today that protects 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small business owners from a middle class tax hike," President Obama said in a statement. "While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country and the House should pass it without delay."
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