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Scuffling at the Edge of the Fiscal Cliff

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On December 31, 2012, a host of tax and spending provisions were scheduled to expire. On January 2, 2013, substantial cuts to defense programs and to domestic discretionary spending also were scheduled to commence. Negotiations in Washington regarding these provisions had been taking place for weeks without resolution, with a sequence of different negotiating partners seeking, and failing, to reach agreement. Finally, on New Year’s Eve, Senate Minority Leader McConnell and Vice President Biden were able to work out a compromise package, and in an unusual New Year’s Eve session that stretched well into New Year’s Day, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the package. In an even more unusual New Year’s Day session, the House of Representatives passed the Senate package unchanged, with House Democrats voting overwhelmingly for it while a majority of House Republicans voted against it. The package, entitled the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012,” now goes to the President who has stated that he will sign the bill.

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Michael E. Zolandz and Gary L. Goldberg, members of Dentons’┬áPublic Policy and Regulation practice, co-authored this article.