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US 'fiscal cliff' tumble looms despite Senate efforts

Published on Jan 1, 2013 6:44 AM
US President Barack Obama speaks about the negotiations with Capitol Hill on the looming fiscal cliff in front of middle class Americans while in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, on Dec 31, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - THE United States looked on track to tumble over the "fiscal cliff" at midnight on Monday, at least for a day, as lawmakers remained reluctant to back last-minute efforts by Senate leaders to avert severe tax increases and spending cuts.

The US House of Representatives might not vote on any "fiscal cliff" plan before midnight, possibly pushing a legislative decision into New Year's Day, when financial markets will be closed, said a Republican aide.

The Senate plan was heavy on tax increases and light on spending cuts, raising concerns that it would repel rank-and-file lawmakers, particularly in the Republican-controlled House.

As Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden kept working on unresolved parts of the deal, there was deep discontent among Senate Democrats.

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