Over the ‘fiscal cliff’ we go — for one day

January 1, 2013

Mitch McConnell
Congress careened over the edge of the “fiscal cliff” Monday, even as outlines of a deal emerged on Capitol Hill that could quickly close the hole and keep tax rates low for most taxpayers, and delay deep spending cuts for several months.

The White House and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the top Republican negotiator, settled on the outlines Monday evening, and Vice President Joseph R. Biden was at the Capitol to sell the deal to reluctant Democrats.

Democratic leaders were still holding out hope for a late-night Senate vote to try to create momentum for the agreement, with a final New Year’s Day showdown in the House still looming.

The House adjourned Monday before 7 p.m. with aides saying it was impossible to vote before midnight anyway, and saying the difference between voting at 3 a.m. and early afternoon was negligible.

The final sticking point was over how to postpone at least two months of the automatic spending cuts scheduled to happen Wednesday. But Mr. Biden was on Capitol Hill to quell a rebellion among liberal Democrats who said the White House conceded too much in extending almost all income tax cuts and a lower estate tax.

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