Fiscal Cliff Legislation Heads to House


WASHINGTON - Hours after the Senate passed last-minute legislation to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff," the deal faces a much tougher vote in the House.

The deal, which ends the Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making more than $400,000 and households making more than $450,000, passed in the Senate by a lopsided 89-9 margin.

The compromise also extends unemployment insurance by one year for approximately two million Americans. It prevents cuts in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients and spares tens of millions who otherwise would have been hit with the Alternative Minimum Tax.

The bill - as it stands now - angers some conservatives who hoped it would contain more spending cuts and some liberals who wanted to raise more taxes.

The House's Republican leaders hinted in a joint statement that they might amend anything that clears the Senate - a move that could potentially kill the deal.

"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," they said.

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