With just three hours to go before the start of 2013, the White House and congressional Republicans have struck a deal to avoid falling over the looming fiscal cliff.
These officials said a New Year’s Eve vote in the Senate to ratify the deal was possible later in the evening, barring opposition from majority Democrats.
There was no immediate confirmation from aides to the top Republicans in Congress, Sen Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner.
The measure would extend Bush-era tax cuts for family incomes below $450,000 and briefly avert across-the-board spending cuts set to strike the Pentagon and domestic agencies this week, according to a Democratic aide.
Vice President Joe Biden was set to sell the agreement to Senate Democrats at a meeting at the Capitol on Monday night.
The aide required anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
A White House source told Reuters that Democratic leaders Sen Harry Reid and Rep Nancy Pelosi have signed off on the deal.
Earlier in the day, President Obama announced that a deal to avert billions of dollars of tax increases that will kick in at midnight is ‘within sight, but it’s not done yet.’
He lamented that he and Congress were unable to reach a ‘grand deal’ to tackle the debt and reform the tax code – but said he would settle for a plan to stop taxes from going up on all but the richest Americans.
‘Our most immediate priority is to prevent taxes from going up on middle class families tomorrow. I think that is a modest goal we can accomplish,’ he said.