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Breaking News from CNBC's John Harwood: No Vote in House Tonight - Sources

When: Today, December 31st at 3:56pm ET

Where: CNBC's "Closing Bell"

Following is the unofficial transcript of breaking news from CNBC's John Harwood. Additionally, here is a link to the embeddable video: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000138399.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

BILL GRIFFETH: MORE BREAKING NEWS ON THE FISCAL CLIFF WITH OUR JOHN HARWOOD AT THE WHITE HOUSE. WHAT ARE YOU HEARING, JOHN?

JOHN HARWOOD: BILL, I JUST SPOKE TO A REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP SOURCE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WHO SAID THE HOUSE WILL NOT BE VOTING ON ANY POTENTIAL DEAL THAT THE SENATE STRIKES TODAY. THE SOURCE SAID WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE VOTING ON THIS IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT. WHAT THAT MEANS IS IS THAT TECHNICALLY WE WILL GO OVER THE CLIFF TONIGHT WITHOUT A LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION. NOW THE IMPORT OF THAT MAY NOT BE GREAT BECAUSE IF A DEAL COMES SOON AFTER TONIGHT, SOON AFTER MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, THAT WOULD FORESTALL THE CHANGES IN TAX WITHHOLDING TABLES THAT WOULD BE THE WAY IN WHICH ORDINARY TAXPAYERS WOULD SEE THE EFFECT OF HIGHER RATES. AND BUDGET SEQUESTER CUTS ARE GOING TO TAKE EFFECT IN THE FIRST DAY OR TWO OF THE NEW YEAR. BUT THIS IS, I THINK, SIGNIFICANT THOUGH BECAUSE THERE HAD BEEN SOME HOPE THAT A DEAL COULD BE STRUCK BETWEEN REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS THAT COULD CLEAR THE SENATE ON A VERY EXPEDITED PROCEDURE AND ALSO CLEAR THE HOUSE TONIGHT. BUT I AM NOW TOLD THERE WILL BE NO HOUSE VOTES TONIGHT WHICH MEANS AS I SAID IN A TECHNICAL SENSE, WE GO OVER THE CLIFF.

AMANDA DRURY: GOOD THING IN THE SENSE THAT IT GIVES THEM A LITTLE BIT MORE TIME TO THRASH OUT A BETTER DEAL RATHER THAN JUST A DEAL TO AVERT TONIGHT'S DEADLINE, JOHN?

HARWOOD: YES. AND THE FACT THAT IT'S A HOLIDAY TOMORROW PROBABLY HELPS TO SOME DEGREE AND GIVES THEM SOME SENSE OF BREATHING ROOM. THE INFORMATION I JUST REPORTED ISN'T MEANT TO SUGGEST THERE WILL NOT BE A LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION BECAUSE I STILL THINK THEY'RE ON TRACK, THERE'S A LOT OF INTERNAL PRESSURE, TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. BUT IT IS NOT GOING TO COME TO FRUITION AND BE IN A FORM THAT A PRESIDENT CAN SIGN BY MIDNIGHT TONIGHT.

GRIFFETH: DID WE ACTUALLY THINK THE HOUSE WOULD BE VOTING ON SOMETHING TONIGHT? I MEAN THEY CAN STOP THE CLOCK AND VOTE ON IT LATER. I GUESS THE FEAR IS THAT YOU GIVE THEM MORE TIME, THEN THEY BICKER AND BICKER ON MORE AND MORE OF THE FINE POINTS DON'T THEY?

HARWOOD: YES, THAT'S ALWAYS THE RISK. AND YOU HEARD SENATOR McCONNELL THE REPUBLICAN LEADER COME OUT ON THE FLOOR AND SAY LET'S VOTE RIGHT NOW ON THE THINGS THAT WE'VE AGREED TO, THE TAX PORTION OF THE DEAL. AND DEMOCRATS ARE RESISTING BECAUSE THEY WANT TO DEAL WITH THE SEQUESTER IN A DIFFERENT WAY, A LONGER LASTING WAY THAN REPUBLICANS DO. BUT WHATEVER YOU THINK YOU HAVE THE VOTES AND YOU WANT TO VOTE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO VALIDATE THAT DEAL. BUT TO THE EXTENT THAT DECEMBER 31st HAS BEEN THE TRIGGER FOR THE FISCAL CLIFF AND WE WAKE UP TOMORROW ON JANUARY 1st IN LAW, IF THERE'S NO NEW LAW, TAXES WILL BE HIGHER TOMORROW MORNING THAN THEY ARE TONIGHT.

DRURY: JOHN, WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK IN LEADING TO THIS POSITION ACCORDING TO THE SOURCES THAT THERE WILL BE NO VOTE IN THE HOUSE TONIGHT? WAS IT PERHAPS THE PRESIDENT'S REMARKS THIS AFTERNOON? DID THAT SLOW THE PROCESS DOWN?

HARWOOD: SOME REPUBLICANS COMPLAINED ABOUT THAT, BUT AGAIN, I WOULDN'T SAY MANDY I DON'T THINK THE CAMEL'S BACK HAS BEEN BROKEN. WHAT I THINK IS THAT AS A MATTER OF TIMING UNDER THE STATUTORY DEADLINE FOR AVOIDING THESE CONSEQUENCES, IT'S NOT GOING TO BE MET. I STILL BELIEVE THAT A DEAL WILL ULTIMATELY BE STRUCK AND APPROVE RELATIVELY QUICKLY. BUT IT IS NOT GOING TO BE PROVED ACCORDING TO REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP SOURCES IN THE HOUSE, IT'S NOT GOING TO BE DONE TONIGHT.

GRIFFETH: WELL, IT'S TOO IMPORTANT TO DO IT ON SUCH A QUICK BASIS, I THINK. SO MAYBE THAT'S A PRUDENT THING TO DO. THANKS, JOHN. SEE YOU LATER.



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