Sens. Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin both voted against the fiscal cliff deal early this morning.

The two were among eight "no" votes, as the Senate passed the measure by an 89-8 margin.

Across the river, Sen. Dick Durbin voted for it. Sen. Mark Kirk did not vote.

Harkin had been critical of the deal early in the day and this morning he echoed what he'd said on the floor of the Senate yesterday.

The Democrat said the deal treats the wealthy better than middle class Americans and predicted revenue that won't be raised by raising taxes on some wealthy families will be sought later in programs that benefit the average American.

"Every dollar that wealthy taxpayers do not pay under this deal, we will eventually ask Americans of modest means to forgo in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits," he said. "It is shortsighted to look at these issues in isolation from one another, especially when Congressional Republicans have been crystal clear that they intend to seek spending cuts to programs like Social Security just two months from now, using the debt limit as leverage."

Grassley, who noted he authored the Bush era tax cuts in the Senate a decade ago, said President Obama focused on raising taxes not on cutting spending.

"It'd be one thing to raise taxes to reduce the deficit, but that's not what this deal does. It's a fiscal farce to raise taxes and hurt economic growth only to fuel more government spending with record deficits and debt," he said. "People at the grass roots want Washington to spend less, not more. Failure to deal with spending lets them down."


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We all know that the number of jobless claims filed is a representation of the nations layoffs. When the numbers fall it generally indicates an improvement in the job market. If the job market sufficiently improves, the unemployment rate goes down, indicating a healthier economy. Since employers are not yet cutting jobs, it indicates they are being cautious and waiting for the resolution of the fiscal cliff debacle before taking drastic actions. However, that concern is evident in other indicators.

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