The drama unfolded just days before the 113th Congress is sworn into office and is just a preview of fights to come, lawmakers said, as politicians tackle pending spending cuts, a needed increased in the government's borrowing limit and a budget debate
But the vote also reflected the changed politics of Washington, coming in the wake of President Barack Obama's strong re-election victory. Many Republicans came to accept that some tax increases were inevitable and now are positioning themselves to fight for large cuts in government spending rather than to continue to protect tax breaks for the wealthy.
"Theses kinds of fights, unfortunately, are an inevitable product of the failure of Nov. 6. We are going to keep seeing them," says Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona. "I think that the voters in electing Barack Obama have created a nightmare for America. The challenges are going to be very significant and they are not going away."