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Senate passes short-term fiscal cliff fix

Published On: Dec 31 2012 10:59:38 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 01 2013 04:22:15 AM CST
US Capitol new generic

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

WASHINGTON, DC -

The U.S. Senate has passed a measure to end or delay several provisions of the so-called 'fiscal cliff.' The House is expected to take up the measure at midday on Tuesday.

The country technically went over the fiscal cliff at midnight Eastern Time on Monday night, but the last-minute Senate deal could reverse most of its impacts in the coming days.

Without a deal on the president's desk before the end of the year, several changes were due to begin, including increases in individual income tax rates for most taxpayers, the end of the payroll tax holiday affecting money withheld for Social Security, the end of unemployment benefits for 2.1 million Americans, automatic spending cuts to most government programs including the military but excluding entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, and a sharp cut to the payments received by doctors for treating Medicare patients.

A deal brokered by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would either stop or delay most of those changes.

The House will not meet until Tuesday at noon, which means any vote on a deal would make the changes retroactive to the first of the year.

Because Tuesday is a federal holiday, the House was able to delay its vote and not impact stock markets.

President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle have signed off on the deal, sources said.

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