Senate passes bill to avoid the fiscal cliff - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Senate passes bill to avoid the fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON (WKOW)-- The Senate has passed a bill to avoid the fiscal cliff.

The Senate passed legislation to block the impact of across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts. The vote was an overwhelming 89-8, and came well after midnight on New Year's Day.

The White House- backed plan prevents taxes on the middle class from rising. It raises tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals, and $450,000 for couples. It also blocks spending cuts for two months.  It also extends unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.

The deal also prevents a cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients.

The House is expected to vote later today or tomorrow.

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