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Dec. 31, 2012 at 10:41 PM   |   Comments

Report: 'Fiscal cliff' deal reached

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Congressional leaders, after taking the United States to the edge of the "fiscal cliff," reached a deal Monday night to veer away.

CBS News said it confirmed negotiators had reached an agreement 3 hours before the mandated package of hundreds of billions of dollars in spending cuts and tax hikes were to go into effect.

CBS reported its White House and congressional sources said both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had signed off on the deal.

The network said it was unclear when the Senate would vote, but if it passes the House will vote Tuesday at the earliest. That means technically the nation will go over the cliff but without any impact since it would likely be effective retroactively.

CBS said the agreement calls for current tax rates to be extended for all wage earners making less than $400,000 and couples making less than $450,000.

Automatic spending cuts called for under the sequester will be delayed two months to give Congress and the White House time to come up with a wider-ranging deal on spending cuts.

The estate tax will be set at 40 percent with the first $5 million worth of property, indexed to inflation, exempt. Capital gains and dividend tax rates will rise from 15 percent to 20 percent.

There also will be a permanent fix to the alternative minimum tax, and doctors will be shielded from a reimbursement gap for treating Medicare patients.

Unemployment benefits will stay in place.

The tax credit for renewable energy companies also will be extended for another year.

Roll Call reported Vice President Joe Biden was meeting with Senate Democrats to recommend the package.

Roll Call's sources said the tentative agreement is subject to change.


Docs: Hillary Clinton blood clot in head

NEW YORK, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's blood clot is between her skull and brain, her doctors said Monday, predicting she would make a full recovery.

The clot did not result in a stroke or neurological damage, they said.

The clot, or thrombus, was discovered during a routine MRI Sunday as Clinton was recuperating from a fall and concussion, a statement from spokesman Philippe Reines and Clinton's doctors said.

"The scan revealed that a right transverse sinus venous thrombosis had formed," the statement said, explaining Clinton's clot formed in a vein "in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear."

Drs. Lisa Bardack and Gigi El-Bayoumi said Clinton was on blood thinners and would be released after her medication regimen is established. They didn't say when they expected that would be.

"In all other aspects of her recovery, the secretary is making excellent progress and we are confident she will make a full recovery," they said in the statement.

"She is in good spirits, engaging with her doctors, her family and her staff," they said.


Sandy refugees stay in donated apartments

NEW YORK, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Three families in New York City, displaced by Hurricane Sandy, say they are grateful for free use of apartments on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Temporary use of luxury one-bedroom apartments was offered by their owner, rent-free, to a number of victims of the hurricane and flood, the New York Post reported Monday.

"It was unbelievable. We couldn't pass it up. There are really no words to describe how it made us feel," said television producer Lacy Edwards, whose Long Beach, Long Island, home she shared with her husband, police officer Brian Edwards, was flooded.

Accountant Erin Joyce, her husband and 1-year-old son, and Antoinette Diamond and Anthony Borello also lived in the apartments until other arrangements could be secured, the newspaper said.

"It felt so good to take a hot shower and go to sleep in a bed," said Diamond.

The apartments belong to Stone Street Properties, who co-owner, Rob Morgenstern, said, "We thought about donating [cash], but what we have are bricks, heat and water. All of a sudden that became a commodity."


Father claims Adam Lanza's body

NEWTOWN, Conn., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The father of Adam Lanza, who killed 26 people at an elementary school and his mother in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, has claimed his body, a family spokesman says.

A family spokesman confirmed Peter Lanza of Stamford claimed the body of his 20-year-old son and "private arrangements" for burial took place during the weekend, the Hartford Courant reported Monday. The state medical examiner had said Sunday the mass killer's body had been claimed sometime last week, the newspaper said.

The burial site wasn't disclosed.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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