Monday
December 11, 2017
Monday, November 12, 2012

US Congress comes back to confront 'fiscal cliff'

Amid a global fright over Washington's political brinkmanship, US lawmakers return to the capital tomorrow with a seven-week deadline to reach agreement on scheduled tax hikes and budget cuts that threaten to trigger another recession.

The post-election battle over the so-called fiscal cliff is shaping up as an extension of the political campaign with Democrats trying to rally support for raising taxes on the wealthy as part of any deal, and Republicans countering that such an approach would devastate "job creators" across the country.

President Barack Obama has scheduled high-profile White House meetings with business, civic and labor leaders in advance of a summit set for Friday of top Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Republican leaders, among them former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, have planned their own round of television appearances and news conferences to make their case.

Both sides generally agree on the need to avoid the jolt of $600 billion in draconian deficit-reduction measures they all agreed to in August 2011. They also agree on a need for long-term deficit reduction and revisions of the tax code.

They are at odds, as they were during the election campaign, over how to get over the immediate crisis, with the main disagreement focusing on whether to extend tax cuts for everyone, as Republicans want, or just for those earning below $250,000, as the president wants.

The president and congressional Republicans have sounded conciliatory notes since the election on reaching a deal. But it was clear on Monday that the two sides were still far apart, setting up prolonged debate that could keep investors on edge for the rest of the year.

Obama won re-election last week but Congress remains divided, with Democrats controlling the Senate and Republicans running the House of Representatives.

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Tags:  congress  us  fiscal cliff  election  washington  budget  tax hikes  obama  





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