The House of Representatives scheduled no vote on a fiscal cliff deal for Monday, ensuring automatic tax hikes and spending cuts on New Year's Day, news reports say.
As dire as it may sound, the plunge over the edge may not turn out to mean much. In the coming days, if lawmakers approve the tax package being negotiated by Senate leaders and the Obama administration, they could retroactively cancel the effects.
House GOP sources told CNN that the main reason the House did not schedule a vote in the final hours before the deadline was the Senate deal was incomplete. When it is finalized, it must be considered and voted on by the Senate.
But there may also be a major political advantage for both parties in delaying a vote. A vote tonight is for tax hikes, yet a vote tomorrow would be to cut taxes that have already gone up. CNN said that distinction may help get more House Republicans to vote for the deal.
Reaction to the missed deadline from global markets remains to be seen. The stock markets closed for today and will reopen Wednesday after the New Year's Day holiday.