Wednesday in politics: Quiet after ‘fiscal cliff’ New Year’s holiday, and more

Phil Pruitt

It’s quiet in Washington after a rip-roaring New Year’s holiday.

In case you had your own celebration going and missed it, here’s how Capitol Hill welcomed 2013: Just after midnight Tuesday, the Senate voted 89-8 to pass a “fiscal cliff” deal struck by Vice President Joe Biden and GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell. Late Tuesday night, the House, after a tumultuous day, voted 257-167 to pass the measure and send it to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The fiscal cliff deal hikes tax rates on income above $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for households. And, yes, Obama says he will sign it.

[House passes fiscal cliff deal, tamps down GOP revolt]

There’s not much on the Washington calendar Wednesday, so politicians and pundits will have a lot of time to reflect on questions raised by the deal:

  • Why was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seemingly pushed aside by Biden in last-minute negotiations?
  • How will conservative members of the House Republican caucus react to House Speaker John Boehner’s “yes” vote on the bill?
  • Was the deal a victory for Obama? And who were other winners and losers?
  • What now?

There also are likely to be questions on an unrelated matter: Why did the House Republican leadership decide to allow the current term of Congress to end without holding a vote on aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy?

Also worth noting on Wednesday, Republican Rep. Tim Scott is expected to submit his letter of resignation from the House of Representatives. He was chosen by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to replace Sen. Jim DeMint.

And then there is this: Right after the fiscal cliff vote in the House, President Obama boarded Air Force One to resume his Hawaiian holiday vacation.

Sources: Yahoo! News’ The Ticket, Yahoo! News reporter Olivier Knox, National Journal, ABC News, Associated Press, Reuters.