An agreement to avoid the sharp tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff won't be reached before the midnight deadline, lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives said today; however, the Senate continued talks to reach a deal. House Republicans notified lawmakers that the chamber will vote this evening on other bills. They said that will be their only votes of the day. Congress could pass later legislation retroactively blocking the tax hikes and spending cuts.
Earlier President Barack Obama and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said they were near a deal to avoid wide-ranging tax increases and spending cuts—the fiscal cliff—that take effect with the new year. Both men said they were still bargaining over whether, and how, to avoid $109 billion in cuts to defense and domestic programs that take effect on Wednesday. See more at the AP. (Read more fiscal cliff stories.)