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As clock ticks, US lawmakers seek fiscal cliff solution

Published on Dec 30, 2012 6:08 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses during remarks to reporters after meeting with congressional leaders at the White House in Washington December 28, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - With the clock ticking toward a New Year's time bomb of huge tax increases and spending cuts, United States lawmakers rushed on Saturday to keep America from tumbling off the so-called fiscal cliff.

The stakes in the game of holiday-interrupting brinkmanship are huge.

Economists agree the US$500 billion (S$612 billion) in fiscal pain due to kick in as soon as the new year starts would stifle the gathering US economic recovery and send the United States back into recession, spelling bad news for the global economy as well.

Aides to leaders of the Democrat-controlled Senate worked behind closed doors to fashion a deal palatable to Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, and Democrats, alike.

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