White House, Senate Reach Fiscal Cliff Deal With Help From Biden; Senate Passes Bill
Once again, Senate leaders called in the Veep to help settle the deal:
Three hours shy of the midnight deadline, the White House and congressional leaders reached a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, several sources confirmed to The Huffington Post.
Under the deal brokered by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Congress would permanently extend the Bush income tax cuts at $400,000 and below, keep the estate tax threshold at $5 million and extend unemployment benefits for one year. It would also temporarily delay the sequester — i.e., billions of dollars in across-the-board spending cuts — for another two months.
The cost of continuing current spending levels will be paid for through an even mix of tax revenue increases and later spending cuts. Half of those cuts will come from defense spending; half will come from nondefense spending.
A few hours later, the Senate passed the deal:
Quick passage before the markets reopen on Wednesday would likely negate any economic damage from Tuesday’s breach of the so-called “fiscal cliff” and largely spare the nation’s economy from the one-two punch of large tax increases and across-the-board military and domestic spending cuts in the New Year.
The deal now goes to the House, which will be back in session tomorrow afternoon.