White House, Republicans strike fiscal cliff deal

US media reports say president Barack Obama and Senate Republicans have reached a sweeping deal to avert the worst effects of the so-called 'fiscal cliff'.

The Washington Post says the deal, brokered by vice president Joe Biden, "would let income taxes rise significantly for the first time in more than 20 years, fulfilling Obama’s promise to raise taxes on the rich." A Senate vote on the deal could be held in the next few hours.

However the House of Representatives is not expected to vote until New Year's Day at the earliest.

The midnight (US time) deadline to avoid the fiscal cliff's compulsory spending cuts and tax hikes expires at 4:00pm AEDT today.

More as it comes.

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