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U.S. Senate Votes To Delay 'Fiscal Cliff' Deadline


U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement about the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations from the White House on December 31.
The U.S. Senate has passed legislation to block the impact of across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts that have been dubbed a "fiscal cliff."

The 89-8 vote came after midnight on January 1, the deadline for the fiscal measures to kick in.

The bill still needs the approval of the House of Representatives. A vote in that lower house is expected by January 2.

President Barack Obama urged the House to approve the last-minute measure, adding that "while neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country."

There had been no official deal to avoid the cuts and hikes by late on New Year's Eve, although reports suggested a deal was close.

Under the bargain approved during the fiercely partisan debt-ceiling crisis in 2011, 2013 in the United States would bring increased taxes for Americans and a 10-percent spending cuts in the absence of a legislative alternative.

After months of seemingly intractable discussion, news emerged late on December 31 that the White House and congressional Republicans had reached a deal to extend George W. Bush-era tax cuts for family incomes below $450,000 and defer planned spending cuts to military and domestic programs totaling $24 billion over two months.

The deal is intended to allow the White House and lawmakers time to regroup before plunging into a new round of discussions over how to decrease government spending and increase revenues to curb the budget defict.

International partners fear the effects of a downturn in U.S. economic fortunes resulting from a fiscal crisis could pack grave consequences for their own economies.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa