After reaching agreement with McConnell, Biden scrambled to Capitol Hill to sell it to the Democratic caucus. Emerging nearly two hours later, when asked what his selling point had been, the veep told reporters, “Me.”
The deal included a stop to President Obama’s order raising salaries for federal workers — including members of Congress. Some lawmakers had vowed to bring legislation to stop the pay boosts for folks who haven’t really done their jobs.
“Good news. In deal we will STOP any pay increase for Congress. Thank goodness. Good reason to vote for it,” tweeted Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).
Not that the late-night marathon session didn’t have some levity. At one point, BuzzFeed’s D.C. bureau chief tweeted that McCaskill “just stormed out of the Senate Dems meeting on the fiscal cliff deal.”
“Seriously? This is silly. I walked out of caucus to get my phone which I left in my car. Get a grip press,” McCaskill tweeted back.
And lawmakers did pause just long enough to ring in 2013.
“Happy New Year from the US Capitol,” tweeted Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
After the vote, Cornyn — who is rising to the rank of Minority Whip this week — said he voted for the bill because it prevents a “huge tax increase” on most Americans, but is “dismayed at the lack of seriousness by the president on dealing with the core issues of our fiscal problems.”
“Our spending is unsustainable and it is high time the president and his party engage in meaningful dialogue to get this county’s spending under control,” Cornyn said.
Obama released a statement calling on the House to pass the bill “without delay.”
“Today’s agreement builds on previous efforts to reduce our deficits,” he claimed. “Last year, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut spending by more than $1 trillion. Tonight’s agreement does even more by asking millionaires and billionaires to begin to pay their fair share for the first time in twenty years. As promised, that increase will be immediate, and it will be permanent.”