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US House to vote imminently on 'fiscal cliff' deal

AFP  Washington, January 02, 2013
First Published: 07:37 IST(2/1/2013) | Last Updated: 07:40 IST(2/1/2013)

The House of Representatives will vote on late Tuesday on a bill already approved by the Senate to avert huge New Year tax hikes and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff," a committee said.


The announcement came at the end of a day of frantic negotiations on Capitol Hill during which many House Republicans voiced discontent with the bill and threatened to torpedo the legislation by adding new amendments.

The House Rules Committee announcement that it will take up the Senate's bill essentially means earlier efforts to introduce a new amendment demanding deeper federal spending cuts did not have sufficient Republican support.

The vote is expected "around 9.30pm" (0230 GMT), a House leadership aide told AFP, but two House members said they did not expect it before 10.30pm.

Lawmakers have already allowed the nation to temporarily topple off the fiscal cliff by failing to enact legislation before the end of 2012 that would have prevented half a trillion dollars in tax hikes and spending cuts for 2013. The goal now appears to be to slow the fall and soften the landing.

Earlier in the day, however, Republicans held two meetings in which lawmakers expressed open disdain for the Senate measure, which raises tax rates on wealthy Americans but does not come close to including the extent of targeted spending cuts demanded by conservatives.

Congressman John Fleming, an influential conservative, said he would not support the Senate bill but acknowledged there was probably insufficient support to bring new amendments into the equation, especially considering the potential impact on US and global financial markets.

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