The following is the text of Sen. McConnell's speech before the vote
"It's late, so I'll be very brief. I want to thank everyone for their patience and their counsel throughout this process.
"I also want to thank the Vice President for recognizing the importance of preventing this tax hike on the American people and stepping up to play a crucial role in getting us there.
"It shouldn't have taken this long to come to an agreement, and this shouldn't be the model for how we do things around here, but I appreciate his willingness to get this done for the country.
"I know I can speak for my entire conference when I say we don't think taxes should be going up on anyone, but we all knew that if we did nothing they'd be going up on everyone today. We weren't going to let that happen.
"Each of us could spend the rest of the week discussing what a perfect solution would have looked like, but the end result would have been the largest tax increase in American history.
"The President wanted tax increases, but thanks to this imperfect agreement, 99% of my constituents won't be hit by those hikes.
"So it took an imperfect solution to prevent our constituents from very real financial pain. But in my view, it was worth the effort.
"As I said, this shouldn't be the model for how to do things around here. But I think we can say we've done some good for the country. We've taken care of the revenue side of this debate.
"Now it's time to get serious about reducing Washington's out-of-control spending. That's a debate the American people want. It's the debate we'll have next. And it's a debate Republicans are ready for."