Gloomy predictions as Washington approaches the 'fiscal cliff'
It's still possible that the 'fiscal cliff' with its automatic tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts can be avoided. But the clock is ticking toward Jan.1, and most lawmakers are pessimistic.
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“I believe the president is eager to go over the cliff for political purposes,” he said. “He senses a victory at the bottom of the cliff.”Skip to next paragraph
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Obama already has scaled back his ambitions for a sweeping budget bargain. Before leaving the capital on Friday, he called for a limited measure that would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for most people and stave off federal spending cuts. The president also urged Congress to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed that would otherwise be cut off for 2 million people at the end of the year.
But reverting to higher tax rates for even the wealthiest Americans remains a show-stopper for many tea party Republicans in the House of Representatives.
Judging by the latest twists in the drama – including House Speaker John Boehner’s inability to get his own party behind his “Plan B” – plus public opinion polls showing Obama with a much better job rating than Mr. Boehner and the GOP seen as mostly to blame, Obama in fact may be more inclined to hang tough.
“The truth of the matter is, if we do fall off the cliff after the president is inaugurated, he’ll come back, propose just what he proposed … and we’ll end up adopting it,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) of Georgia on Fox News. “Why not go ahead and act now?”
Why not, indeed, said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, also speaking on Fox News.
"It is time to get back to the table," said the Minnesota Democrat. "And I hope if anyone sees these representatives from the House in line shopping or getting their Christmas turkey, they wish them a merry Christmas, they're civil, and then say go back to the table, not your own table, the table in Washington."
This report includes material from the Associated Press.
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