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Michigan Officials Cross Party Lines To Avert ‘Fiscal Cliff’

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DETROIT (CBS Detroit) The U.S. House of Representatives passed a deal late New Year’s Day, 257-167 with both GOP and Democratic support, that averted the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

What does that mean for Michigan?

Congressional approval of legislation that keeps America from going over the fiscal cliff is proof that Democrats and Republicans can work together on behalf of the voters who sent them to Washington, said Oakland County Democrat Gary Peters.

Peters said the legislation combines tax hikes on high-end wage earners with spending cuts to get the budget in line.

“I think one of  the most important messages to come  out of this debate was that in order for us to deal with the deficit we’ve got to have a combination of revenue, which means tax increases, as well as cuts, and we’re going to continue to see that in the months ahead,” Peters said.

Four Michigan Republicans crossed over and voted with House Dems on the measure, including Candice Miller of Harrison Township and Mike Rogers of Brighton.

Peters said — with this stalemate behind them — there will be a renewed spirit of bipartisanship when the new Congress is sworn in.

“We’ve got a new Congress coming in just on Thursday … We have to continue to make some very difficult choices, some very difficult decisions have to be made, and hopefully we can make those in a balanced way,” Peters said. The deal was cobbled together after marathon talk sessions between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Obama said it “raises taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans while preventing a middle class tax hike that could have sent the economy back into a recession.”

According to CBS News, the deal protects existing tax rates for individuals making less than $400,000 a year and couples making $450,000; sets the estate tax rate at 40 percent, up from 35 percent;  increases capital gains from 15 to 20 percent; extends current unemployment benefits; continues the milk industry subsidy and freezes the pay of members of Congress.

What Is The Fiscal Cliff?

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