CNN has reported that a deal has been reached and that Vice President Biden is on his way to the Senate to brief Senators (maybe just Democratic Senators?) before details of the deal are announced.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Read, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Vice President Joe Biden, and President Barack Obama have all agreed to "The Deal."
6:07 PM PT: Although, it seems logistically implausible, CNN is reporting that they are expecting to have the vote tonight. Wolf Blitzer asked how it would be possible to get the printed version of the bill together in time, but Jessica Yellen says the staff has been working on it all along.
She also says Nancy Pelosi has signed off on it as well.
6:13 PM PT: From what I can surmise:
* The top income tax rate will 35% to 39.6% for individuals earning more than $400,000 or households earning above $450,000.
* The dividends and capital gains tax rate go up to 20%.
* The estate tax will increase from 35% to 40% on all assets above $5.12 million, which will be indexed to inflation.
* A permanent fix to to the AMT patch..
It does not appear from rumor that an extension of the debt-ceiling is included
On the plus side earlier reports indicated that President Obama obtianed
A one-year extension of Medicare doc fix (worth about $30 billion)
A one-year extension of 73 week unemployment insurance.
A Stimulus Refundable Tax Credit I don't understand nor know details of.
An extension of the Wind Energy Production Tax Rebate and perhaps other sustainable energy funding.
I can not find out how long the delay, if any, of the sequestration cuts will be.
6:17 PM PT: Jessica Yellin says that there is a two month delay in sequestration cuts that will be paid for in cut to both social spending and defense spending.
The Republicans won the real estate debate, and the index will be inflated.
6:23 PM PT: The Washington Post has a really long article just up, Here's the first three paragraphs, I haven't selected or summarized, or even read it yet.
Obama, Republicans reach deal on fiscal cliff; Senate vote expected tonight
President Obama and Senate Republicans reached a sweeping deal late Monday that would let income taxes rise significantly for the first time in more than two decades, fulfilling Obama’s promise to raise taxes on the rich and averting the worst effects of the “fiscal cliff.”
Vice President Biden arrived at the Capitol just after 9 p.m. to explain the details of the pact he negotiated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). A Senate vote on the package could be held by 10:30 p.m., beating a midnight deadline, Democratic aides said. The Republican-controlled House will begin considering the bill on Tuesday, with a final vote expected in the next day or two.
The agreement emerged after White House officials gave in on the last contested issue, yielding to GOP wishes on how to handle estate taxes, aides said.
Alli Velchi (sp?) says "Cats are sleeping with pigs tonight" for those interested in odd humor.
6:31 PM PT: The so called Medicare "doctors fix" is included and I believe I heard it said that it will not be paid for by cuts to Obamacare as Republicans have been demanding.
6:32 PM PT: Grover Norquist apparently will support Republicans voting for this deal, and will not consider it to be a violation of Republican's tax pledge, however the Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation are both emailing their members to opposed this vote.
6:36 PM PT: Jessica Yellin says the extension of unemployment compensation is included but not paid for, and repeats that automatic sequestration is delayed for two months so that it will coincide with the debt-ceiling crisis. BTW Tim Geithner said we went hit the debt-ceiling on December 29, however he can juggle the books for two months to buy time to have a prolonged and painful struggle for the next two months. (Not his exact words.)
6:39 PM PT: CNN is explaining the right-wing's and Grover Norquist's rationale for supporting this. They say now that the tax issues are behind us now for the next two months we can have a day to day discussion of spending cuts to be offered in return for the extension of the debt ceiling..
This will cost $1.2 trillion per year of extension, so Republicans feel they will now have the upper hand for phase 2 of this battle.
6:54 PM PT: CBS reports It's official: Deal reached on "fiscal cliff"
The automatic spending cuts under the sequester will be delayed for two months. The cost of continuing current federal spending levels will be offset by revenue increases and some spending cuts. The spending cuts will come half from defense and half non-defense accounts.
The two-month window is to allow Congress and the White House to come up with a larger deal on spending cuts, leading to another (though smaller) "fiscal cliff."
The estate tax: it was set to increase from rom 35 percent to 55 percent in 2013. Instead, the compromise sets the new rate at 40 percent with the first $5 million worth of property exempt from being taxed.
Capital gains tax: Capital gains and dividend tax rates will increase from 15 to 20 percent.
Alternative Minimum Tax: a permanent fix to the tax that would hit middle class families
"Doc Fix": doctors will be shielded from a massive reimbursement gap for treating Medicare patients.
Unemployment benefits: unemployed workers will receive their benefits which expired over the weekend.
Renewable energy tax credit: the tax credit for renewable energy companies will be extended for another year.
7:48 PM PT: Special thanks to everyone who rec'd this post as you have put me over 32,000 accumulated recommendations, on the last day of the year.
8:06 PM PT: This article reports the "deal" includes a one year extension of the farm bill, which I do not believe was mentioned in the previous updates.
Fiscal Cliff Deal Reached: White House, Hill Leaders Agree To Delay Sequester By Two Months
-- i.e., billions of dollars in across-the-board spending cuts -- for another two months. The cost of continuing current spending levels will be paid for through an even mix of tax revenue increases and later spending cuts. Half of those cuts will come from defense spending; half will come from nondefense spending.
The deal includes other tax provisions as well: It extends the child tax credit and the college tuition credit for five years, individual and business tax extenders for two years, and the Medicare "doc fix" for one year. The Alternative Minimum Tax will be permanently fixed. The agreement also extends the farm bill for one year.
Notably, the fiscal package does nothing to address the debt ceiling, which the government just hit Monday. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sent a letter to congressional leaders earlier in the day outlining emergency measures he can take to prevent the government from defaulting on the debt, but those measures will only delay default for a matter of weeks, until right around the time when lawmakers will have to address the sequester again. That sets up another major fiscal fight between the White House and Congress.