House passes fiscal bill


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House Republicans, fearful of blame and political recrimination for looming tax increases on most Americans, reversed course on Tuesday and cleared the way for House approval of a measure that would avert most of the increases as well as large cuts in spending for the Pentagon and other government programs.

The decision to allow the vote came despite widespread scorn among House Republicans for the bill -- passed overwhelmingly by the Senate in the early hours of New Year's Day -- because it does not include significant spending cuts in health and social programs. They say cuts are essential to any long-term solution to the nation's debt.

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