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House approves Fiscal Cliff deal

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WASHINGTON -- After a day of starts and stops, and uncertainty over whether the House would take up the Senate's fiscal cliff deal, it passed the measure late Tuesday night.

Shortly after the House passed the fiscal cliff deal, President Obama spoke, thanking lawmakers for their vote.

"I will sign a law that raises taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans while preventing a middle-class tax hike that could have sent the economy back in recession and obviously had a severe impact on families all across America," Obama said.

Throughout most of New Year's Day, is was unclear whether the House would agree to vote on the bill that passed the Senate earlier that day with overwhelming votes. Several Republicans opposed the measure, criticizing its lack of spending cuts. But in the end, 85 voted to approve it, but not without a few parting shots.

"I just wanted to thank so many on the other side, after all these years, for finally acknowledging publicly that that 98 percent of the Bush tax cuts help the middle class," Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, said.

The Bush era tax breaks will be extended for individuals making $400,000 and couples making $450,000 or less, unemployment insurance will be extended, along with the current estate tax exemption. It also raises the threshold for the alternative minimum tax, permanently linking it to inflation and prevents a spike in milk prices.

"Reconciling our differences was a monumental task, especially with the time growing short,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The bill also delays the $110 billion across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, for two months, which could turn into another political standoff. Something the president cautioned against.

"One thing I think hopefully in the New Year we'll focus on is seeing if we can put a package like this together with a little less drama, a little less brinksmanship, not scare the heck out of folks quite as much,” Obama said.

The president also asserted he wouldn't engage in another potential political fight on horizon, whether to raise the country's debt limit.

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