The midnight deadline was quickly approaching, but late on the evening of Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, Vice President Joe Biden arrived to deliver a message. He did all he could to sell some Democratic senators on a very late deal to avoid any income tax hikes on all but a small portion of the richest Americans. Biden smiled as he was asked if a deal was finally made on the fiscal cliff, and simply said:
"Happy New Year!"
After that cryptic wish for the new year, a Democratic Senate aide told Yahoo News that "the White House and Republicans have a deal."
A source familiar with the negotiations then said that President Barack Obama had discussed the compromise with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. With that, the source said that "they both signed off."
A Senate vote is apparently scheduled for late on Monday or possibly into the early morning hours of Tuesday. The House of Representatives was due back at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, to discuss things.
According to Yahoo News:
Under the compromise arrangement, taxes would rise on income above $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for households, while exemptions and deductions the wealthiest Americans use to reduce their tax bill would face new limits. The accord would also raise the taxes paid on large inheritances from 35% to 40% for estates over $5 million. And it would extend by one year unemployment benefits for some two million Americans.
Earlier in the day, President Obama had scolding remarks for a deal that was close to being done, but not yet there. He was hopeful and prepared for one to happen, but was not happy that it had not occurred as of yet.