AUSTIN (THE TEXAS TRIBUNE) Update, 10:35 p.m.: The fiscal cliff bill has passed the U.S. House with the support of four Texas Republicans: U.S. Reps. Pete Sessions of Dallas, Kevin Brady of Conroe, Mac Thornberry of Wichita Falls and Lamar Smith of San Antonio. Rep. Ron Paul of Lake Jackson was the lone member of the Texas delegation who did not vote; all Texas Democrats in Congress voted for the measure.
In a statement, Sessions said he was "pleased to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to make critical parts of our tax code permanent for all North Texans."
"I strongly urge Senate Democrats and the President to engage with House Republicans to create responsible spending reforms now to get our nation on a path towards fiscal solvency," he added.
Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn voted reluctantly early Tuesday for the Senate compromise to avoid the "fiscal cliff" — and tax increases for most working Americans — despite the objections of some of Texas' most vocal far-right conservatives.
Cornyn defended his vote, saying in a Facebook post on Tuesday that it "prevents a huge tax increase on 99 percent of all Texans and Americans." (At this writing, the House is still awaiting a vote on the measure.)
Cornyn added that the nation's "spending is unsustainable and it is high time the president and his party engage in meaningful dialogue to get this country's spending under control."
His soon-to-be Senate colleague from Texas, Ted Cruz, hasn't been sworn in and didn't get a vote, but his spokesman Sean Rushton said the incoming senator wouldn't have supported it if given the chance. Cruz took to social media on Tuesday night to fault the proposal.
"Sadly, the Senate began 2013 by passing $620 billion in new taxes and just $15 billion in spending ‘cuts' mere minutes after the bill was drafted," he wrote in a Facebook post. "…Meanwhile, the real crisis — spending money we don't have and jeopardizing our children's future — remains totally unaddressed."
Like Cornyn, outgoing U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison voted for the measure; she tweeted that it was her last vote cast before leaving the Senate.
"I expected [Hutchison] to perform as a lame-duck tax-and-spender," the Tea Party-friendly conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan opined on Twitter, "but had hoped Cornyn would've respected Texas enough to vote correctly."