The second session of the 112 Congress came to a close with the passing of H.R. 8 (the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, or ATRA) on January 1, 2013. ATRA became law on the following day when President Obama signed the bill. This bill prevented the country from going off the so-called Fiscal Cliff.
The Fiscal Cliff was a series of expiring tax cuts and a series of new spending cuts that would have taken effect on January 1; the tax increases and spending cuts equaled (roughly) four percent of our GDP, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, could have thrown the country i