While the House Conference met on-and-off through the day, I believe it was Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) who was the first to say flat-out that this was the best deal they were going to get and they should take it.
According to Reuters, Cole said on MSNBC at about 11 yesterday morning:
"We ought to take this deal right now, and we'll live to fight another day, and it's coming very soon on the spending cut.
"We know the essential details and I think putting to bed this thing before the markets [open on Wednesday] is really a pretty important thing to do."
The vote on H.R. 8 (officially the vote was on a motion to concur in the Senate Amendments) passed easily by a vote of 257-167.
85 Republicans voted for the motion; 151 against.
172 Democrats voted for the motion; only 16 against.
It concluded at shortly after 11 PM. If they'd just have listened to Cole they could have been out of there in plenty of time to watch the Rose Parade and the president could have been landing in Hawaii.
So. The 112th Congress ends with a cliffhanger (pending a possible vote on Hurricane Sandy relief today) - we can now wait until the start of the 113th Congress at noon tomorrow and see just how rickety the temporary bridge the Congress and the President has built across the fiscal cliff really is.
They haven't done anything to solve the debt crisis, but the new Congress - and the president on January 20 - will have a brand new road and a bunch of shiny new cans to kick down it.