LIVE: House Passes Fiscal Cliff Bill, Averts Tax Hikes and Spending Cuts

After a failure to come up with a deal over the weekend, talks are well beyond the 11th hour, pushing America to the brink of the fiscal cliff.  However, some politicians remain rather optimistic that we'll see a deal before the clock strikes midnight on January 1.

Sources think VP Joe Biden and Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are close to a deal.  Politico is reporting that Biden and McConnell engaged "in furious overnight negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff and made major progress toward a year-end tax deal, giving sudden hope to high-stakes talks that had been on the brink of collapse, according to sources familiar with the discussion."

As the Senate got underway at 11am, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid updated: "There are a number of issues on which the two sides are apart but discussions continue as I speak."  And McConnell didn't take the floor after him, which leads some to believe progress is being made.  Usually you will find Reid and McConnell bashing their "distinguished colleagues" at every possible chance.