Washington (CNN) - So what is really in the fiscal cliff legislation?
Of course, there are the widely-known sticking points the two sides have been haggling over for weeks: extensions of the income tax cuts for middle and low-income earners, the current estate tax rate, and the alternative minimum tax.
But there's also a provision on two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles, renewable energy, and rum.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which passed the Senate early Tuesday morning, is a vehicle for a number of regular year-end tax extenders.
Among the extensions is the excise tax carry-over on rum produced in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It's a federal tax of which most is paid back to the islands.
There's also the extension of a tax credit for purchase of some electric vehicles with two or three wheels, such as scooters. It was a tax break included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and covers up to 10% of the vehicle's cost, or at most $2,500.
The tax document for that particular credit – Internal Revenue Service form 8834 – is one and a half pages, accompanied by two pages of instructions.
Congress also extended the "Indian employment credit" for businesses that hire individuals who are members of a Native American tribe, work on the tribal land, and live on or near the reservation.
And they extended the depreciation model for motor sports complexes – facilities that hold at least seven days of racing, seat at least 70,000 people, and have concession stands that benefit charitable organizations.
The legislation also included extensions of tax credits for research and development, low income housing, and an accelerated depreciation model for certain leasers and restaurants.
It included a number of energy tax provisions as well, including one relating to coal produced at "Indian coal facilities" and extensions of energy efficient home and appliance purchases.
How are the changes enacted?
For most extensions, it requires just a simple swap of the date.
"Subsection (g) of section 179E is amended by striking `December 31, 2011' and inserting `December 31, 2013,' " read the provision extending the mine safety equipment deduction. "The amendment made by this section shall apply to property placed in service after December 31, 2011."
– CNN's Gregory Wallace, Lisa Desjardins and CNNMoney.com's Caleb Silver contributed to this report
To ya rights
"To funny, them law makers just can't make a simple bill to solve problems without special interests poking in"
In the hottest heat of battle, they find time to take care of a few special interests. Not challenging the merit of any of these 'clauses' (nor supporting them), but it STINKS!
The President and members of COngress should have to use the 2 & 3 wheel electric vehicles to travel for all government business.
Republicans need their rum.
Every single Republican reprsentative and senator should be wearing a price tag. Clearly there isn't a one of them who cares more about our country's welfare than they do about protecting millionaires, foreign governments, and other special interests. Very sad.
Exactly as i predicted amongst my friends.
Something would get done on taxes Obama's employment extension but the rel issue of government spending i.e the sequester gets punted down the road
My next bet is Democrats will let the original sequester stand if republicans aim too much at excessive spending cuts. thats scenario 1
scenario 2 is the updated contribution to the sequester gets met and Obam proposes a budget with further savings. the carrot in that budget will be a lowering of the corporate tax rate to 31/32% in exchange for closing loopholes and tax breaks for corporates This should help job growth and tax certainty and a promise to review and lower further if the economy recovers and tax revenues can be maintained.
For sure Obam aint finished on taxes and will not allow all spending an entotlement cuts in order to Hit the debt ceilng the original sequester will be invoked.
This country needs a party that is for progress of this country as a whole rather than those who can buy them.
I agree with Lisa. We the people need to realize we are the ones who are this country. If our employees aren't doing their jobs and are instead feeding their egoes then we let them go. No impeachment just recall them out as soon as possible. We were held hostage and terroized by our own government.
Two words ... "TERM LIMITS!"
If the Tea Party or any of the third party groups want to make a difference they should have their members start a "CLEAN LEGISLATION BILL" where the bill only dealt with one topic and how the bill would be implemented, paid for and carried out. A farm bill would only about farms. Gun Legislation would only be about guns. If an industry needed a tax break it would be in a seperate bill, not part of disaster relief or care for the poor, military or elderly. The problem with clean legislation is that it doesn't offer politicians a place to hide with their vote. Clean legislation doesn't allow politicians to go to special interest groups asking for money, Short term legislation that expires every two years means a politician can constantly go to supporters or those against an issue and constantly ask for money.
All we need do in society is put a limit on how much money you can make and then give the rest back to the government, like having 100% tax bracket for those making over 250,000 dollars a year. That way everyone gets their fair share and no one has more than one another.
pork barrel politics are to blame here. While we're in the midst of a time-sensitive process to avoid the fiscal cliff, every piece of worthless legislation that would otherwise continue to be thrown off the table suddenly comes alive as ransom material in exchange for votes.
What is even more amazing is the fact that all of this hoopla was for the most part, staged. The president could have signed an executive order at any time during this so-called crisis that would have commanded Congress to avoid the cliff and pass the legislation.
This is a sad day in America. More spending is not the answer.
Giving lazy people in this country more free handouts year after year is crazy.
The big problem with what they have come up with is that it doesn't protect middle-class America, they are getting hit with a tax increase. But Hollywood, where they have many millionaires, got a tax break and so did NASCAR. Nice to see they are watching out for the individual. They are all hacks controlled by the lobbyists. The only thing good they have done is that the House did block the pay raise Obama tried to push through by Executive Order. These hacks make 2 to 3 times what most of America makes so why do they need a pay raise? Not like they have done much to help us out other than saddle us with countless more regulations.
And the "fundamental transformation" of America continues. Obama is beginning to show his true "dictatorial" colors now.
Donna, PLEASE move to a communist country! This is the US, not China!
I understand allowing Social Security deductions to return to 6.2%. I do not understand why they didn't remove the income limit which only deducts contributions from the first $113,700 earned. All the talk was about the wealthy paying more and yet this increase exempted a portion of earnings that would have gone a long way towards solvency in the system.
I agree with "Common Sense" regarding the need for Clean Legislation. However, I don't think the Tea Party would support such a bill because they are themselves covertly supported by a few billionaires who benefit significantly by the sort of pork that gets inserted in the bills. I read the bill they voted on last night and it was so filled with crap it was extremely hard to understand. It was a lobbyist's dream.
Blame the tea party
Well NASCAR Tracks get their subsidy.
someone mentioned term limits I think we could take this one step up and have written contracts with our elected leaders with annual milestone written into the contract
Once again, Obama socks it to the working people of America while protecting the dopers, welfare frauds and corrupt unions that elected him from any consequence like taking responsibility of their lives. I wish I had a president that was looking out for me instead of trying to create class warfare and punish me for acting like a responsible citizen, but that is the liberal way.
Pork Barrel Spending–that's a big part of what's wrong with our government.
The politicians give away our hard-earned money to those who gave them "campaign contributions".
Call it what you like, it still sounds like corruption, to me.
Frank – FL
Yes Like the billions to the Defense Contractors for projects that are never finished...Boeing was paid one Billion to build an invisible fence along our southern boarder....Well that is great...because it did not work and that money was a big waste....
Sad day when Congress kicked the can down the road one more time. It is time America wakes up and realizes that we need both increased revenue and spending cuts. If we had gone over the Fiscal Cliff then revenues would have increased $586B per year and spending would have decreased by $110B. That would mean we only reduce the deficit spending to $600B per year. Time to get serious about reducing the deficit spending and it will take both Revenue and Cuts.