Jan 1 - U.S. senators pass key legislation to avoid fiscal cliff that is likely to face stiff challenges later on Tuesday when its presented to the House of Representatives. Jessica Gray reports.
Senators rang in the New Year on Tuesday morning by passing key, bipartisan tax hikes and spending cuts. SENATE FLOOR WITH DEMOCRAT PATRICK LEAHY PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE SAYING: "The vote... the yeas are 89, the nays are 8. Sixty vote threshold has been achieved. The bill as amended is passed." (Bangs gavel) The move helped the U.S. back away from a "fiscal cliff" that could have seen the onset of another recession for the world's biggest economy. Senators like Republican Mitch McConell were pleased that Democrats and Republicans came together over the bill. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REPUBLICAN SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONELL SAYING: "As I said this shouldn't be the model for how we do things around here but I think we can say we've done some good for the country." But the legislation, which increases taxes for the rich and keeps middle class income tax low, will likely face major challenges when presented to the House of Representatives later on Tuesday, since it does little to rein America's debt worth $16.4 trillion dollars. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TOM HARKIN OF IOWA SAYING: "I am concerned about this constant drift, bit by bit, deal by deal towards more deficits, less job creation, more unfairness, less economic justice." All eyes are now on the House which is to hold a session on New Year's Day. If it fails to pass the legislation, markets could turn sour again when they open on Wednesday.