GOP says House won't vote on a tax deal until at least Tuesday

The nation will go over the "fiscal cliff," at least for a few hours.

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House Republican leaders advised their members Monday afternoon that the House would not vote on legislation to prevent tax hikes and spending cuts until Tuesday at the earliest.

The House GOP conference will meet at 5 p.m. Monday to discuss a supplemental spending bill for Hurricane Sandy relief and then hold votes on unrelated measures before heading home for the year.

With Senate leaders close to a deal on the tax portion of the fiscal cliff, the House will likely return to consider the measure — if it passes the Senate —on Tuesday or Wednesday, the final day of the 112th Congress. The Senate could still vote on a measure Monday evening.

Earlier Monday, a House Republican leadership aide told The Hill that "there is little difference between voting tomorrow versus tonight, except tomorrow members of Congress and the American people will have had more time to review it."

Financial markets rose on positive news about negotiations on Monday, and the markets are closed for New Year’s Day on Tuesday.

The missed deadline could also have political ramifications: a vote on Jan. 1 would be tantamount to a tax cut, not an increase, because higher tax rates are set to take effect on the 1st.

Senate leader have agreed to extend tax rates for family incomes above $450,000 but allow tax rates to rise above that threshold, said aides briefed on the tentative agreement.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has not yet agreed to the tax deal, according to a senior Democratic aide.