The Senate passed legislation early New Year's Day to neutralize a fiscal cliff combination of across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts that kicked in at midnight. The vote two hours after the deadline was a lopsided 89-8 in favor. Senate passage set the stage for a final showdown in the House of Representatives, where a vote was expected later today or possibly tomorrow. The Senate vote came hours after the White House reached a compromise deal with Senate Republicans, which raises taxes on wealthy Americans.
Under the deal, taxes would remain steady for the middle class and rise at incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples—levels higher than Obama had campaigned for. Shortly after the Senate vote, he said, "While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country and the House should pass it without delay." (Read more fiscal cliff stories.)