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‘Fiscal cliff’ measure approved

Congress approved a last-minute deal Tuesday night to end the so-called “fiscal cliff” drama.

The House voted 257 to 167 to send a measure raising taxes on households making $450,000 or more annually to President Obama for his signature.  The legislation, which is the first broad tax increase to be approved by the GOP in over two decades, will also allow benefits to continue to roughly 2 million unemployed workers and will delay automatic cuts to the Pentagon and other agencies by 2 months.

John Boehner and 2012 Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan were among GOP members who voted for the measure, while more staunch conservatives such as Marco Rubio and Eric Cantor voted against. Boehner had supported an alternative that would have raised taxes only on incomes over $1 million, but it was ultimately rejected by the majority of Republicans.

The approved measure will also extend federal dairy policies through September 2013, averting a threatened doubling of milk prices, and will cancel a scheduled pay raise for members of Congress.

While President Obama praised Congress for agreeing on a measure, he warned again that he will not negotiate with Republicans over the $16.4 trillion debt limit, which is set to be raised in coming weeks.

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