Just moments away from tumbling over the fiscal cliff, Congress voted Tuesday to avoid wide tax increases and to provide a two-month delay on budget cuts scheduled to take place at the start of the New Year.
The measure, which will increase taxes by about $600 billion over 10 years, passed overwhelmingly in the Senate (89-8) before winning approval in a sharply divided House of Representatives (257-167).
Tennessee's U.S. Senators, Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, both Republicans, were among the senators voting in favor of the measure.
In the House, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, also a Republican, voted against the proposal.
In individual news releases sent to local reporters on Jan. 1, both senators and Rep. Roe reacted to the vote.
"This agreement rescues 99 percent of Americans from individual and estate tax increases in 2013, and then makes these lower rates permanent, providing certainty and creating jobs," said Alexander.
"But the Medicare fiscal cliff is still ahead of us, which is why Senator Corker and I have a proposal to deal with the out-of-control spending that will soon bankrupt the programs seniors rely on to pay their medical bills," the senator added.
He was referring to the coming debates concerning spending and the mid-February deadline on potentially increasing the nation's debt ceiling.
Alexander and Corker have together sponsored a plan to reduce such entitlement spending by nearly $1 trillion in exchange for a $1 trillion increase in the debt ceiling.
"If we don't deal with this during the debt ceiling debate, we are on the road to becoming Greece," Alexander concluded.
Corker echoed these comments in his statement, calling for debates to now focus on spending reductions as a "part of the debt ceiling package."
"I am disappointed we could not address our country's fiscal issues all at once, but unfortunately, the president made it clear that he was only willing to do this in two steps, and leveraged the country and the economy to force revenues to be dealt with first," Corker said in the release.
"Now that we've addressed the revenue part of the equation, it's time to move on to the spending reductions that will be part of the debt-ceiling package.
"Passing fundamental entitlement reform is the most important action we can take in ensuring our country's solvency, and now we must have the courage to finish the job and make the tough choices necessary to get these problems behind us once and for all," Corker said.
However, in the House of Representatives, Rep. Roe stood with many other House Republicans who voted against the measure as a result of its failure to address spending cuts and entitlement reform.
"Washington cannot continue to tax, borrow and spend," Roe said in a statement released Tuesday.
"When these negotiations began, the president promised a balanced approach, and that's not what this legislation is. We must get our deficit under control, and the only way to do that is to cut spending.
"While I am glad to see hardworking Americans will get much-needed permanent tax relief, I could not, in good faith, support legislation that does not address our spending problem," he added.
"Now that we have dealt with the tax side of the fiscal cliff, we must focus on real spending reductions in the upcoming debates on the remaining sequestration cuts and the debt ceiling."