President Obama is expected to make a statement on the fiscal cliff at 1:30 p.m. Officials familiar with the negotiations say the contours of a deal have emerged.
With a midnight deadline rapidly approaching, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have agreed to raise tax rates on family income over $450,000 a year and $400,000 for individuals, to increase the estate tax rate and to extend unemployment benefits for one year, officials said. They stressed that negotiations are continuing and the emerging deal was not yet final.
"It appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year's tax hike is within sight," President Barack Obama said in an early-afternoon status report on negotiations. "But it's not done."
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell - shepherding final talks with Vice President Joe Biden - agreed with Obama that an overall deal was near. In remarks on the Senate floor, he suggested Congress move quickly to pass tax legislation and "continue to work on finding smarter ways to cut spending" next year.