Senate Reaches Last-Minute Fiscal Cliff Deal, House Passage Uncertain
WASHINGTON (CNN) — A full two hours after a midnight deadline, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a deal Tuesday to avert the feared fiscal cliff on an 89-8 vote.
The Senate package would put off budget cuts for two months and preserve Bush-era income tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 or couples earning less than $450,000. in addition, taxes on inherited estates will go up to 40 percent from 35 percent, unemployment insurance would be extended for an additional year for 2 million people and it would also prevent a spike in milk prices that could send the cost of a gallon of milk up to $7.
The measure now goes to the House where it faces an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled body.
“Glad it’s over,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, after the vote. “We’ll see if the Republicans in the House can become functional instead of dysfunctional.”
A statement from House leadership made no promises.
“Decisions about whether the House will seek to accept or promptly amend the measure will not be made until House members — and the American people — have been able to review the legislation,” the statement said.
A vote could come as early as New Year’s Day. The House is scheduled to convene at noon.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, was hopeful the House will follow suit.
“The vote was 89 to 8. Bipartisan vote. 89 votes,” he said. “I think it sends a strong message and I think it will be approved by the House.”