(CNN) - A possible deal to avert the midnight deadline for the "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases and spending cuts began to take shape Monday, including an agreement to raise the income tax rate on top earners to what it was during President Bill Clinton's last term in office, according to sources close to the process.
The potential deal also includes an increase in the estate tax and an extension of unemployment benefits, according to the sources.
(CNN) - Congressional Democrats trying to negotiate a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff have increased the income threshold for tax increases to $450,000, a Democratic source told CNN. President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to raise rates on households making more than $250,000 a year.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, explained further on Monday that Republicans offered a $450,000 income threshold for individuals and $550,000 for couples - and that Democrats countered with a $360,000 threshold for individuals and $450,000 for couples.
Sources in both parties say talks proceeded through the night between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden. Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell, said the two men "will continue to work toward a solution."
Washington (CNN) – Fiscal cliff negotiations between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made significant progress and the two sides are now closer to a deal than they were Sunday, according to sources close to the process.
Thus far the potential agreement includes allowing top tax rates to return to Clinton-era levels, an extension of unemployment insurance and an agreement to increase the estate tax, though there would likely be a compromise to keep it from jumping to pre-bush policy levels, said a source familiar with the negotiations.
New York (CNNMoney) - Monday is New Year's Eve, but it may feel more like Groundhog Day, as investors spend yet another day awaiting news out of the fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington.
U.S. stocks opened lower Monday as investors continue to dial back expectations that officials in Washington will prevent tax hikes and spending cuts from kicking in on Tuesday.
(CNN) - Terrorists in Benghazi, Libya, "essentially walked right into the Benghazi compound unimpeded and set it ablaze," a special Senate report on the September 11 attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans says.
The bipartisan report, "Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi," released Monday by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, cites "extremely poor security in a threat environment that was 'flashing red.' "
Washington (CNN) - The key figures involved in fiscal cliff talks have released few details about negotiations since they restarted Sunday afternoon. But we do have a clearer snapshot of the major points of debate before Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell took over negotiations on Sunday. CNN's Capitol Hill team collected this information from sources and lawmakers involved in and briefed on negotiations up to that point.
Washington (CNN) - OK. The budget deficit, the debt ceiling, and tax reform are givens. We know that those battles will continue to be in the political spotlight throughout 2013.
But what else will be front and center in the New Year?
Here are five other things to keep your eyes on:
Washington (CNN) – Picking the top 10 moments of an election year is like finding your favorite grain of sand on the beach - there is an impossible number of possibilities.
Take catchphrases that became boomerangs - President Barack Obama's "If you've got a business, you didn't build that." Or GOP challenger Mitt Romney's "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me."
New York (CNNMoney) - No matter what happens with the fiscal cliff over the next few days, a potentially bigger budget mess is just around the corner.
Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling soon, probably by late February or early March.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
CNN: With no deal and only hours to go, US economy heads toward 'fiscal cliff'
With only hours left Monday to avert what economists predict will be a one-two punch to the U.S. economy, Senate Democrats and Republicans were trying to negotiate a last-minute deal aimed at heading off a year-end combination of spending cuts and tax increase that could trigger a new recession.
CNN: Obama talks about 'worst day of my presidency,' goals for next term
President Barack Obama appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday, talking about the "fiscal cliff" negotiations and priorities for his administration in his second term. The president told host David Gregory that he was optimistic something will be worked out to keep tax rates from rising on Tuesday - but if not, his first piece of legislation for the next Congress will be a bill to reduce tax rates on most Americans.