Bill to avert 'fiscal cliff' heads to House

WASHINGTON — Emergency legislation to avoid the economy-threatening "fiscal cliff" ran into vehement New Year's Day opposition from House Republicans, casting doubt on the divided government's ability to prevent widespread tax increases and painful, across-the-board federal spending cuts.

"I do not support the bill. We are looking, though, for the best path forward," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., declared after a closed-door meeting of his party's rank and file.

While Speaker John Boehner took no public position, an attempt to add spending cuts was all but certain before the leadership called for a final House vote on the measure that cleared the Senate hours earlier in a pre-dawn vote of 89-8.

Any change in the legislation would require the Senate to re-pass the measure before it could go to President Barack Obama for his signature, and his aides met at the White House to review the bill's prospects.

There was no immediate response to the House Republicans from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., or from Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader who negotiated the final bill with Vice President Joe Biden.

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