NPR : News

Filed Under:

It's Not Over: Big Battles Ahead Even After 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal

Play associated audio
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about the fiscal cliff in the South Court Auditorium at the White House.
AP/Carolyn Kaster
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about the fiscal cliff in the South Court Auditorium at the White House.

We're sorry to start the first work day of 2013 on a negative note, but here goes:

Though the House voted 257-167 late Tuesday to OK legislation that kept the federal government from going over the so-called fiscal cliff — and stopped income taxes from rising for about 99 percent of Americans — lawmakers didn't reach agreement on other very divisive issues.

Which means, as NPR's John Ydstie said on Morning Edition, some big battles await in coming months. It's like another Lord of the Rings trilogy — we know at least two more stories are coming and it's clear there's going to be a lot of nastiness before the day is (we hope) saved.

In mid-February, the nation will again hit its "debt ceiling." So there will be another argument like the one in 2011 that nearly put the federal government into default and led to a downgrading of its credit rating. And in about two months, because the White House and Congress extended the deadline, deep spending cuts that had been set to hit on Jan. 1 will come around again.

In other words, lawmakers left "a huge amount of fighting for the New Year," as Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep put it.

Here's how some other news outlets are reporting about what lies ahead:

-- "Republicans immediately turned to their next battle — a bid to use the need to raise the nation's $16.4 trillion debt ceiling to force Obama to accept cuts in entitlement programs such as Medicare. Congress must act as early as mid-February to prevent a default and the dispute may reprise a similar 2011 episode that led to a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating." (Bloomberg News)

-- "The bill does not accomplish everything. Not by a long shot. By striking only an eleventh-hour decision, pols have set up a continual series of debates and fights in coming weeks that will roil markets." (Forbes)

-- The deal was a "feeble finish to the 'fiscal cliff' fiasco," says the editorial board at The Washington Post.

What is in the legislation that made its way through the Senate and House over the holiday? Bill laid out the details here.

Update at 11 a.m. ET. Markets Up:

Though lawmakers left much work undone, Wall Street is rallying this morning.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit



From A Weirdo Nerd To A Guy Who Plays One On TV

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with the actor Rainn Wilson about his new memoir, The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.

How Long Can Florida's Citrus Industry Survive?

The USDA recently stunned growers when it projected the smallest orange harvest for Florida in more than 50 years. The culprit: A tiny insect that's killing off the state's trees — and industry.

Snapshots 2016: Trump's Message Resonates With A Master Cabinet Maker

From time to time during this election season we'll be introducing you to ordinary people that our reporters meet out on the campaign trail. Today: a snapshot from a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire.

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.