The Senate passed legislation early Tuesday morning Washington D.C. time to block the impact of across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts that make up the fiscal cliff.
The vote was an overwhelming 89-8 and came well after midnight on New Year's Day.
A House vote is expected before Wednesday.
The White House-backed legislation would prevent middle-class taxes from rising, and raise rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples.
It also blocks spending cuts for two months, extends unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, prevents a 27 percent cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and prevents a spike in milk prices.
Senator Mark Begich, speaking to Channel 2 News on the phone just minutes after casting his vote, said "This is just one part of many phases. The next phase will be huge spending issues that we have to deal with...we have to reduce the cost of government down."
Begich was also hopeful the proposal will win approval in the House, where many Republicans have complained that the negotiations have focused too much on raising taxes and not enough on cutting spending.
Begich said the proposal "protects 98% of the folks out there for keeping their taxes low. I think the House has a good chance of passing this because of strong bi-partisan support here in the Senate.".
In a written statement, Senator Lisa Murkowski said " I share Alaskans' frustration with this brinksmanship brand of politics where we race against to resolve something after months of inaction. Elected leaders shouldn't need to wait until the last minute to work together for America, especially with so much work to be done to address our $16 trillion debt. I'm ready to work with anyone ready to deal head-on with the challenges that face us.”
A last-minute addition would also prevent a $900 pay raise for members of Congress from taking effect in March.
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