US President Barack Obama talks about the negotiations with
Capitol Hill about the looming fiscal cliff while in the
Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House
complex in Washington. REUTERS/Larry Downing
The US Senate has overwhelmingly approved legislation to
avert the "fiscal cliff" - two hours after a midnight deadline
- by stopping most of the tax hikes and across-the-board
spending cuts that were due to begin with the new year.
After an 89-8 vote in the Senate, the measure now moves to
the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which is
expected to consider it later on Tuesday.
Many Republican House members have already voiced misgivings
about the deal's tax hikes on the wealthy and its lack of
spending cuts. It is likely to need substantial support from
House Democrats in order to pass.
The House was due to reconvene at noon EST on Tuesday to take
up the measure. However, House Speaker John Boehner said
earlier that decisions had not been made on whether he will
allow amendments to the bill or hold a straight up-or-down
Without a deal, some $600 billion worth of automatic tax
hikes and spending cuts will be triggered in the first days
of 2013, threatening a new US recession.
"We don't think taxes should be going up on anyone but we all
knew if we did nothing, they'd be going up on everyone
today," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who
negotiated the eleventh-hour deal with Vice President Joe
"This shouldn't be the model for how we do things around
here, but I think can say that we've done some good for the
country," McConnell said in remarks just before the vote.