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Obama returns, but lawmakers stymied on fiscal cliff

Published on Dec 28, 2012 12:29 AM
President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Honolulu Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, in Honolulu, en route to Washington. With a yearend deadline looming before the economy goes off the so called fiscal cliff, the president is cutting short his traditional Christmas holiday in Hawaii.

WASHINGTON, (AFP) - President Barack Obama returns on Thursday to a sharply divided Washington where lawmakers have stubbornly refused to compromise on a plan to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."

With pressure mounting before hundreds of billions of dollars in higher taxes and spending cuts set in, Democrats and Republicans are essentially treating the crisis as a hot potato, blaming one another for the inaction.

Obama was due back in Washington by noon (1700 GMT).

He cut his Hawaiian Christmas vacation short to contend with the looming January 1 fiscal cliff deadline, as White House officials reportedly lashed out at the "congressional stupidity" gripping the capital.

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