Washington (CNN) - Senate leaders and the White House struck a last-minute deal to avert the feared fiscal cliff Monday night, with Vice President Joe Biden headed to the Capitol Hill to pitch the plan to fellow Democrats.
"Happy New Year," Biden, who became the Democratic point man in the talks, told reporters. "Did you think we would be here New Year's Eve?"
But the House of Representatives went home long before midnight, meaning nothing will get through Congress before the combination of tax increases and spending cuts Congress has been scrambling to head off starts to kick in.
A source familiar with the deal told CNN that the Senate proposal would put off the cuts for two months and keep the expiring Bush-era tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 or couples earning less than $450,000. Taxes on inherited estates over $5 million will go up, and that exemption will be indexed for inflation.