20 hours after the Senate voted for a bill to keep the U.S. from taking a full plunge off the fiscal cliff, the House passed the package. But during those 20 hours, it was a day of “will they?” or “won’t they vote?” on the cable news channels, which, as this being New Year’s Day, had skeleton staffs.
Earlier in the evening, as it became clear the House would indeed vote, the networks went into overdrive. Bret Baier anchored extended coverage on Fox News pre-empting O’Reilly and Hannity specials. Wolf Blitzer was in for Piers Morgan and Ali Velshi for Erin Burnett on CNN while Anderson Cooper anchored his shows at 8 and 10pmET and Richard Lui interrupted what was to be a night of “Lockup” for MSNBC’s extended coverage. Fox Business Network and Bloomberg went into full coverage as the House vote neared. All the networks’ chief Congressional and White House correspondents have been on the beat nearly non-stop for days.
The president came to a sparsely filled press briefing room at 11:20pm speaking for 7 minutes and taking no questions: “Hopefully in the New Year we can focus on putting a package like this together, with a little less drama, a little less brinkmanship and not scare the heck out of folks.”