Just in: Fiscal Cliff Avoided

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

Legislation to block the "fiscal cliff" is headed to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature. The bill will avoid, for now, the major tax increases and government spending cuts that had been scheduled to take effect with the new year.

Final approval came in the House on New Year's Night. The vote was 257 to 167.

The Senate passed the bill less than 24 hours earlier.

The measure raises tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples, a victory for Obama.

It also extends expiring unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, prevents a cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and cancels a $900 pay increase due to lawmakers in March.

Another provision is designed to prevent a spike in milk prices.

"We are chipping away at the problems step-by-step," said President Obama from The White House a few minutes after the house vote. "I am very open to compromise...but we can't cut our way to prosperity."

In the coming weeks, the President said Congress needs to not focus on politics but what is right for the country. The next round of decisions, he believes, should come with "less drama and brinksmanship."

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