President Barack Obama and Senate leaders reached a New Year's Eve budget agreement that would boost income-tax rates rise for the first time in nearly 20 years, maintain unemployment benefits for millions of people and blunt the impact of spending cuts that were looming as part of the fiscal cliff.Read the details at the link (via Memeorandum).
The long-sought compromise—which would raise taxes on joint filer's incomes above $450,000 and delay for two months part of the $110 billion in spending cuts that otherwise would have taken place in early January—was expected to be approved by the Senate in the early morning hours of Tuesday. The House was expected to consider it later in the day.
The delay in approval meant that the U.S. technically went over the fiscal cliff at midnight. But with U.S. markets closed Tuesday, the impact of missing the deadline could be minimal. What damage the wrangling has caused—to the 2013 tax-filing season and consumer confidence—is already assured.
Passage isn't a sure thing in the House, where conservative Republicans are dismayed that the compromise raises taxes and doesn't include more cuts in federal spending. Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said the House could amend it and send it back to the Senate, but supporters of the compromise hope that a big bipartisan vote of approval in the Senate would help in propel it through the House and onto Mr. Obama's desk for his signature by Thursday.
The compromise was prepared for the Senate floor after Vice President Joe Biden, who brokered the deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) traveled to the Capitol for a late-night meeting with Senate Democrats, including many who harbored reservations about the deal.
Major elements of the compromise would...
And at CNN, "Latest updates: Final fiscal cliff scramble." And CNN's Lisa Desjardins is live-tweeting.
It's 10:30pm on the West Coast, so I'll be up for awhile, ringing in this weird New Year.
CARTOON CREDIT: NetRight Daily.