Senate passes bill to avert “fiscal cliff”

The vote was an overwhelming 89-8 and came well after midnight on New Year's Day

Topics: Associated Press, Senate, Fiscal cliff, New Year's Day, White House, ,

Senate passes bill to avert "fiscal cliff" (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Senate has passed legislation to block the impact of across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts that make up the fiscal cliff.

The vote was an overwhelming 89-8 and came well after midnight on New Year’s Day.

A House vote is expected before Wednesday.

The White House-backed legislation would prevent middle-class taxes from rising, and raise rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples.

It also blocks spending cuts for two months, extends unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, prevents a 27 percent cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and prevents a spike in milk prices.

A last-minute addition would also prevent a $900 pay raise for members of Congress from taking effect in March.

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