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Senate to vote on 'fiscal cliff' deal as deadline approaches

Published on Jan 1, 2013 12:24 PM
US Vice President Joe Biden arrives for a closed-door meeting with Senate Democrats to urge them to support a tentative tax agreement with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill on Dec 31, 2012, in Washington DC. The House and Senate were both in session on New Year's Eve to try to deal with the looming fiscal cliff issue. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The White House and Senate leaders struck a bipartisan deal on Monday to try to avoid a"fiscal cliff" budget crisis, although the agreement was likely to face stiff challenges in the House of Representatives.

Senators were due to vote on the accord before midnight (1pm Tuesday Singapore time) and independent Senator Joe Lieberman said it had strong support from the Democrats who control the chamber.

The agreement still came too late for Congress to meet its own deadline of New Year's Eve to pass laws halting US$600 billion (S$733 billion) in tax hikes and spending cuts due to come into force on Jan 1.

But with Tuesday a holiday, Congress still had time to draw up legislation, approve it and backdate it to avoid the harsh fiscal measures coming into force.

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