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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: US likely headed over fiscal cliff

11:45 AM, Dec 27, 2012   |    comments
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada speaks to reporters following the Democratic policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

 


 


WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said this morning that it "looks like" Congress will fail to come to a deal to avert the year-end fiscal cliff.

"It looks like that's where we're headed," Reid said.

The White House says President Barack Obama has made separate phone calls to congressional leaders to discuss the impending fiscal cliff.

A White House official says Obama called Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi late Wednesday. The president made the calls before leaving his Hawaiian vacation for Washington, D.C.

Lawmakers are engaged in a playground game of "who goes first," daring each other to let the year end without avoiding a Jan. 1 confluence of higher taxes and deep spending cuts.

Obama returns from Hawaii Thursday to this familiar showdown in the nation's capital, with even a stopgap solution now in doubt. This post-Christmas period unfolds amid a growing sentiment that Congress could still act in January without causing economic harm.

But a big deficit reduction deal is unlikely. That puts pressure on how Congress deals with the nation's borrowing limit, which Republicans see as another budget-trimming opportunity.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Wednesday the government would hit its borrowing limit on Monday but said he would take "extraordinary measures as authorized by law" to postpone a government default.

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