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Bill to avert fiscal cliff heads to House

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Legislation to avert across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts to domestic programs is headed to the House.

The Senate gave its approval early this morning in an 89-8 vote hours after Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell sealed a deal.

House Speaker John Boehner is refraining from endorsing the agreement, but he has promised a vote on it or a GOP alternative right away.

The bill would prevent taxes from going up on the middle class, but would raise rates for higher incomes.

It also would block spending cuts for two months and extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. But lawmakers are still faced with budget issues a few weeks from now, when relief from spending cuts expires and the government reaches its borrowing limit.

President Barack Obama says the "fiscal cliff" agreement reached by the Senate is "the right thing to do for our country," and he's encouraging the House to "pass it without delay."

The Senate voted 89-8 overnight to pass legislation to block the impact of across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the beginning of the new year.

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