Obama hails US budget deal

Barack Obama has hailed a deal to avoid a "fiscal cliff" of stark tax hikes and spending cuts. The US House of Representatives backed the bill by 257 votes to 167.

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US deal to avoid the 'fiscal cliff' must clear one last hurdle

Political rivals in the US Senate joined forces in the early hours of this morning to agree a deal that should protect the US economy from a sudden shock.

Huge tax rises and spending cuts due to take effect at midnight last night should now be averted, but only if the deal passes one final vote in the House of Representatives.

ITV News' correspondent Lewis Vaughan Jones reports from Washington.

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Vice President Joe Biden to meet House Democrats

Vice President Joe Biden Credit: Sachs/ABACAUSA.COM

The US Vice President Joe Biden will meet with fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives today to discuss the "fiscal cliff" deal that he forged with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, a Democratic aide said.

Biden needed to help sell Senate Democrats on the deal before they joined Republicans at about 2am local time (7am GMT) in approving the measure.


Republican representatives to discuss 'fiscal cliff' bill

Republican members of the US House of Representatives will meet at 1pm local time (1800 GMT) to discuss "a path forward" in the debate over the "fiscal cliff," a senior aide said.

Earlier today, the Senate voted in favour of a bipartisan bill to avert steep tax rises and spending cuts.

The meeting could help Republicans leaders decide when to begin consideration of the White House-backed measure, and a vote could come as soon as later in the day.

US steps back from 'Fiscal Cliff' edge after Senate vote

US politicians have stepped back from the fiscal cliff which many feared could prompt a new economic downturn.

Early on New Year's Day, the Democrat-dominated Senate passed legislation to block huge tax increases and spending cuts by an overwhelming 89-8.

A vote in the Republican-led House of Representatives is expected later.

Speaking after the vote US Majority Leader Harry Reid thanked members for their patience.

Obama: 'Passing 'fiscal cliff' deal is right for the country'

US President Barack Obama has called for the House of Representatives to follow the Senate's lead and pass a 'fiscal cliff' deal to extend tax cuts for middle-class Americans and raise tax rates on top earners.

"While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country and the House should pass it without delay," Obama said in a statement after the Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve the legislation.

"There's more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I'm willing to do it. But tonight's agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans," Obama said.


Fiscal deal: 'Balance of spending cuts and revenue increases'

The White House and congressional lawmakers have reached a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" that would delay harsh spending cuts by two months, an Obama administration source told Reuters.

The source said Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had signed off on the deal.

The agreement includes a balance of spending cuts and revenue increases, the source said.

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