On Tuesday evening both the US House and Senate passed legislation to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. The deal postponed $110 Billion in yearly federal spending cuts and prevented a return to the pre-Bush tax rates for many Americans.
The legislation contained a number of components, including income tax increases for individuals making more than 400K a year and couples making 450K a year. The legislation allows the payroll tax rate to return to 6.2% from the current 4.2% level. The deal also extents the expansion of unemployment insurance for an additional year.
Unfortunately, the deal left much unresolved. Lawmakers agreed to postpone the $110 billion in automatic annual spending cuts that were set to go into effect on January 2 and instead opted to readdress those cuts by March 1st of 2013. Half of those cuts will target defense spending, while half will target non-defense spending like healthcare, food stamps and other discretionary programs, including those dealing with sexual health and funded by the CDC. Lawmaker's willingness to merely postpone addressing those spending cuts means that federal agencies are still at risk of huge automatic spending cuts in March. NCSD's Policy Team continues to monitor the situation and to work - independently and in concert with colleague organizations - to educate policymakers about the need for a better outcome.
Additional information and some helpful charts on the bill can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/01/01/us/the-mcconnell-biden-plan.html?hp
On Thursday, the 113th Congress was sworn in on Capitol Hill. NCSD's Executive Director, Bill Smith, spent much of the day on the House side of the Capitol visiting member offices and discussing NCSD priorities in the coming year. The 113th Congress has a record number of women and LGBT people among its ranks.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact NCSD's Manager, Policy and Communications, Stephanie Arnold Pang at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-715-3865.