Defense News has been charting efforts to avoid the dreaded fiscal cliff and, possibly, the $500 billion in Pentagon budget cuts set to kick in on Wednesday (Jan. 2).
The House and Senate have approved a bill negotiated by Vice President Joe Biden and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., that would extend most set-to-expire tax cuts for all Americans except for individuals who make more than $400,000 annually and couples who earn more than $450,000. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., became a secondary negotiator. It delays the sequestration cuts to planned Defense Department spending — and an equal amount of domestic cuts that also are set to take effect Jan. 2 — by two months.
Below is our live blog of defense-related developments. We hope you will share the link with others, and check DefenseNews.com for full coverage.
11:05 a.m. (Tuesday): BREAKING: The House on Jan. 1 approved the Biden-McConnell measure that partially averts the fiscal cliff and delays pending cuts to planned Pentagon spending until March. It now goes to the president for his signature. Full coverage soon at DefenseNews.com.
7:05 p.m. (Tuesday): House GOP leaders will whip votes on a spending cuts amendment to see if there are 218 votes in the Republican caucus. If not, it appears Biden-McConnell will be brought to an up-or-down vote. The deal is not dead yet. But sequestration remains the law of the land. For now.
3:35 p.m. (Tuesday): The Congressional Budget Office has scored the Biden-McConnell bill. CBO determined it would add to the deficit, and features over 40 times more revenues to cuts. GOP House members want to change that, putting the legislation in jeopardy.
3:30 p.m. (Tuesday): BREAKING: The deal could be in jeopardy as House Republicans express their disgust. GOP lawmakers want spending cuts, and a lot of them. Could the massive defense budget be a target for the hungry GOP wolves? House could amend the bill and send it back to the Senate. As crafted, the measure could have a tough time passing the House.
11:20 a.m. (Tuesday): The White House announces Biden will attend a 12:15 p.m. House Democratic caucus meeting about the fiscal cliff legislation. The search for and finalizing of support is well under way.
11:15 a.m. (Tuesday): The House GOP leadership has released its floor schedule for Tuesday. The Biden-McConnell bill is not included on the docket. Yet. House members say they want time to review the legislation.
11:03 a.m. (Tuesday): The Biden-McConnell bill sets March 1 as the new sequestration deadline, with an implementation date of March 27 if federal spending reduction targets are not met in January or February. More