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The United States averted economic calamity on Tuesday (January 1) when lawmakers approved a deal to prevent huge tax hikes and spending cuts that would have pushed the world's largest economy off a "fiscal cliff" and into recession. Early morning commuters welcomed the deal but many were left scratching their heads about the political posturing on Capitol Hill in the run up to the final New Year's day vote.
"I think it's good that we've reached some sort of compromise although it's kind of lame it took so long, you know, hours before the actual cliff happened," said commuter Adam Dorius.
"I'm almost wondering why do we even have a Congress. We put them in power to do things forAmerica and it's like - this tit for tat type going on - I am like, why are they even here. I mean, I don't understand, I really don't, I am lost for words," said commuter Sheryl Sanders.
"Watch your own back, because nobody in Washington is watching it for you," said Karl Muench, a tourist from Houston, Texas.
The agreement hands a clear victory to President Barack Obama, who won re-election on a promise to address budget woes in part by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. But some commuters felt that Obama had given lawmakers a generous compromise by not taxing the rich more.
"I think it's too much compromise on the administration's part. I certainly think that gave in a little bit too much. I am not so sure, I haven't read the details yet as far as how its affects the average American citizen but I am glad to see that the unemployment insurance has been extended for two years, that I think is a positive step, but I think it's a little bit too much compromise by the current administration."
The deal resolves, for now, the question of whether Washington can overcome deep ideological differences to avoid harming an economy that is only now beginning to pick up steam after the deepest recession in 80 years.
Consumers, businesses and financial markets have been rattled by the months of budget brinkmanship. The crisis ended when dozens of Republicans in the House of Representatives buckled and backed tax hikes approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The vote averted immediate pain like tax hikes for almost all U.S. households, but did nothing to resolve other political showdowns on the budget that loom in coming months. Spending cuts of $109 billion in military and domestic programs were only delayed for two months.