Senate to hold New Year's Eve vote on Biden-GOP fiscal cliff deal

Senate to hold New Year's Eve vote on Biden-GOP fiscal cliff deal

The Senate will vote on legislation to extend tax rates on annual income under $450,000 on New Year's Eve. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidWeek ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road 'Tuesday Group' turncoats must use recess to regroup on ObamaCare MORE (D-Nev.) said the vote would be held after a Congressional Budget Office score was received on the bill, which would prevent looming tax hikes on most households and put off for two months spending cuts scheduled by the sequester. 

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerGOP fundraiser enters crowded primary for Pa. Senate seat Dems: Trump risks government shutdown over border wall Miners' union shouldn't look to feds to bail out mismanaged pension fund MORE (D-N.Y.) predicted a strong Democratic vote behind the deal negotiated by Vice President Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellCongress nears deal on help for miners Shutdown fears spur horse-trading GOP, Trump administration huddle on tax reform MORE (Ky.), while Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) predicted the vote would be held before midnight, but that didn't happen.

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"The disagreements on this provision, that provision, and the other provision are large and wide," Schumer said. "But the number of people who believe we should go over the cliff rather than vote for this is very small."

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownCongress nears deal on help for miners Overnight Energy: Lawmakers work toward deal on miners’ benefits Congress nears deal on help for miners MORE (D-Ohio) said he, like many Democrats, wanted the $250,000 threshold for tax hikes that President Obama campaign on. But he said the new revenue would nonetheless be "significant," causing him to support the compromise.

"We can't do what we need to do on everything from food safety to Medicare without additional revenues and asking the wealthy to pay a little bit more, and we've succeeded in doing that," Brown said.

Sen. Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers Lobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner MORE (D-W.Va.) said he'll also support the measure, but Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGive Trump the silent treatment Macron: Gets a win in France, but now the challenge comes Conway: I have 'no idea' who is leading Democratic Party MORE (I-Vt.) declined to comment immediately after the caucus meeting. "Not right now," he said.

The House could vote as soon as Tuesday on the bill, though it is uncertain whether it would draw significant GOP support. 

House GOP leaders promised to "review" the legislation.

“The House will honor its commitment to consider the Senate agreement if it is passed," the leaders said in a statement issued by Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE (Ohio), Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorTrump nominates two new DOD officials Brat: New ObamaCare repeal bill has 'significant' changes Overnight Energy: Flint lawmaker pushes EPA for new lead rule MORE (Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.). "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.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has signed off on the deal, and released a statement saying she would present the deal to her conference once a final agreement was approved by the Senate.

“I understand at the present time, Senate Democrats are meeting with the Vice President. When a final agreement is reached and passed by the Senate, I will present it to the House Democratic Caucus,” she said.

The support from Democratic leaders comes despite opposition from some liberal groups, union leaders and Democratic senators, who have raised objections. 

Biden met with Senate Democrats on Monday night to build support for the deal. The meeting went on for nearly two hours, but some Democrats emerged predicting a solid vote in favor of the deal.

"I feel very, very good. I think we'll get a very good vote tonight," Biden said as he left the meeting. He wouldn't predict how the House and Senate would vote.

The agreement will extend Bush-era income tax rates on individual income up to $400,000 and on family income up to $450,000, according to a senior GOP aide. It will adjust the estate tax rate to 40 percent, up from 35 percent, but maintain the exemption for all inheritances below $5 million.

It would postpone the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester for two months.

Some Democrats had raised objections to extending tax rates on income up to $450,000, and because of details related to an extension of the estate tax that is also a part of the deal. Some Senate Democrats specifically objected to Biden's agreement to index the the estate-tax exemption to inflation.


“Its [sic] not a good fiscal cliff deal if it gives more tax cuts to 2 percent and sets the stage for more hostage taking,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka wrote in a Twitter post on Monday night.

Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinDistance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday Grassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream MORE (D-Iowa), the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, was the first Senate Democrat to pan the emerging deal.

“We’re going to lock in forever the idea that $450,000 a year is middle class in America? Need I remind people that at $250,000 a year, that’s the top 2 percent income earners in America?” Harkin said in comments on the Senate floor Monday morning. “I know the president keeps saying he wants to protect tax cuts for the middle class.

“Have we forgotten average income earners in America are making $25,000, $30,000, $40,000, $60,000 a year?” he said. “That’s the real middle class in America and they are the ones getting hammered now.”

Harkin and Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Regulation: Lawmakers look to delay labor board ruling Senate Dems offer bill to restore internet privacy rules Dem senator on Gorsuch: 'The dark deed is done’ MORE (D-Ore.), Al FrankenAl FrankenSenate votes to confirm Rosenstein as deputy attorney general Twitter jumps on news of O'Reilly's ouster Senate Dems seek review of products linked to tax refunds MORE (D-Minn.) and Sanders, a liberal independent, met with Reid shortly after noon to voice their concerns with details of the package they learned of through the media.

The conservative group Heritage Action for America came out against the deal and said it would score votes on the bill. 

This story was posted at 8:28 p.m. and was updated at 1:05 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2013.