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House passes fiscal cliff compromise

UPDATED: In a surprise late night vote, the House passed legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff, concurring with the agreement negotiated in the Senate.

The vote was 257-167 -- a bipartisan vote, though it was led overwhelmingly by Democratic support.

Among Republicans, the vote was 151-86 against the compromise. John Boehner and Paul Ryan were among the minority of Republicans who supported the compromise; Eric Cantor voted no. That led to immediate speculation among pundits that Boehner's position as speaker of the House could be in doubt in the next Congress.

Weary lawmakers hoped to avoid a national "fiscal cliff" of major tax increases and spending cuts in a New Year's Night culmination of a struggle that tested divided government to the limit.

Passage sent the measure to President Barack Obama for his signature and handed him a political triumph less than two months after he secured re-election while campaigning for higher taxes on the wealthy.

"Everybody worked very hard on it and I appreciate it," Obama said, in a late night appearance at the White House.

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