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Reports: Fiscal Cliff Deal Reached – UPDATED

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Vice President Joe Biden arrived at the Senate this evening and word comes that Congressional leaders have reached a deal on the fiscal cliff negotiations.


Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Capitol Hill to brief Senate Democrats on the details of the deal; both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have signed off on the agreement, White House and congressional sources told CBS News’ Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett.

Technically we still go over the so-called cliff because the House will not vote until tomorrow, even if the Senate votes tonight.

Here are the known details of the deal:

  • Tax rates: current tax rates will be extended for all wage earners making below $400,000 and couples making below $450,000.This was a key concession for both Republicans and Democrats. Democrats wanted the threshold for tax increases to rest at $250,000 and Republicans didn’t want marginal tax rates to increase for anyone.
  • The automatic spending cuts under the sequester will be delayed for two months. The cost of continuing current federal spending levels will be offset by revenue increases and some spending cuts. The spending cuts will come half from defense and half non-defense accounts.The two-month window is to allow Congress and the White House to come up with a larger deal on spending cuts, leading to another (though smaller) “fiscal cliff.” Democrats see this deal as a victory because Republicans had objected to using any new tax revenue to offset the loss of sequester spending cuts, reports Garrett.
  • The estate tax: it was set to increase from rom 35 percent to 55 percent in 2013. Instead, the compromise sets the new rate at 40 percent with the first $5 million worth of property exempt from being taxed.
  • Capital gains tax: Capital gains and dividend tax rates will increase from 15 to 20 percent.
  • Alternative Minimum Tax: a permanent fix to the tax that would hit middle class families
  • “Doc Fix”: doctors will be shielded from a massive reimbursement gap for treating Medicare patients.
  • Unemployment benefits: unemployed workers will receive their benefits which expired over the weekend.
  • Renewable energy tax credit: the tax credit for renewable energy companies will be extended for another year.

As KagroX says “Worst. Cliff. Ever.”

UPDATE: C-SPAN reports the Senate will vote tonight.

UPDATE 2: Senate passed the legislation 89-8 wee early morning January 1st 2013

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