Tuesday’s vote to avoid the “fiscal cliff” exposed a deep rift within the House GOP that ran from the rank-and-file all the way to the very top of the party.
House Speaker John A. Boehner voted to approve the deal, which allows tax rates to rise for the wealthy but makes tax cuts for most Americans permanent. His two top lieutenants, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Whip Kevin McCarthy, both voted against the deal.
In that they reflected their colleagues. Overall, House Republicans voted nearly two-to-one against the deal, with just 85 in support and 151 opposed.
Lawmakers said earlier that they doubted the vote would leave Mr. Boehner in danger of losing his speakership when the new Congress is sworn in on Thursday, but the vote is a striking sign of the gap between the Ohio Republican and the majority of his party.
The vote also saw divisions among the party’s potential 2016 presidential candidates. In the Senate, both Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio voted against the deal, while Rep. Paul D. Ryan, the party’s vice presidential nominee, voted for it Tuesday night.
On the Democratic side all of the top leadership backed the bill save for Rep. Xavier Becerra, a California Democrat who voted against it.
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Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Dinan can be reached at email@example.com.
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