Ala. senators go different ways on fiscal cliff vote

Alabama's two Republican Senators went different ways on the fiscal cliff vote. Senator Jeff Sessions was one of 89 votes in favor while Senator Richard Shelby was one of eight votes against the agreement Tuesday morning.

The bill passed 89-8 and goes to the U.S. House for a vote.

"I do not support this agreement," Shelby said in a statement. "Our economy needs spending restraint by the federal government and fundamental tax reform that eliminates corporate welfare and lowers individuals' rates.

"Instead, this package raises taxes, increases spending, and will lead to more borrowing. This deal is certainly no cure-all; rather, it falls far short of the measures necessary to promote job creation, economic growth, and fiscal stability."

It would prevent middle-class taxes from going up but would raise rates on higher incomes. It would also block spending cuts for two months, extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, prevent a 27 percent cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and prevent a spike in milk prices.

The measure ensures that lawmakers will have to revisit difficult budget questions in just a few weeks, as relief from painful spending cuts expires and the government requires an increase in its borrowing cap.

In a statement, Sessions said, "This legislation is necessary to prevent a large and painful tax increase from falling on the vast majority of Americans. Its enactment will end a long period of uncertainty that would weaken or even reverse economic growth. Now, it is important that we place our focus directly on the real cause of our nation's looming debt crisis: the continued surge in spending."

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.