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Cliff looms: Kicking the Can, Washington-style

December 26, 2012 • National News


FILE – In this Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, file photo, speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington. Lawmakers probably could enact a compromise quickly and easily if Republican leaders let Democrats provide most of the votes. By trying to pass his plan with GOP votes alone, Boehner could afford to lose only two dozen of the 241 House Republicans. His private head-count found nearly twice that many defectors, party insiders say, forcing Boehner to give up without seeking a formal vote. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — When it comes to the nation’s budget challenges, congressional leaders are fond of saying dismissively they don’t want to kick the can down the road.

But now, a deadline hard ahead, even derided half-measures are uncertain as President Barack Obama and lawmakers struggle to avert across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts that comprise an economy-threatening fiscal cliff.

Congressional officials said Wednesday they knew of no significant strides toward a compromise over a long Christmas weekend, and no negotiations have been set.

After conferring on a conference call, House Republican leaders said they remain ready for talks, urged the Senate to consider a House-passed bill that extends all existing tax cuts, but gave no hint they intend to call lawmakers back into session unless the Senate first passes legislation.

“The lines of communication remain open, and we will continue to Login to read more

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