The Straits Times
Published on Dec 22, 2012

Obama calls for scaled-back 'fiscal cliff' package


WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama has told lawmakers to go home and drink some Christmas eggnog before coming back to Washington to pass a scaled-down tax package to avert a year-end fiscal crisis.

Mr Obama said he still wanted a comprehensive and large deficit-cutting bill to put the US economy on the path to long-term prosperity, but that effort stalled when talks broke down between the White House and House Republicans this week.

So to avoid automatic and massive spending cuts and tax hikes due to kick in on all Americans on Jan 1, Mr Obama called for a stop-gap bill to protect middle-class tax payers and to avert what has been dubbed the "fiscal cliff."

"There is absolutely no reason, none, not to protect these Americans from a tax hike. At the very least, let's agree right now on what we already agree on. Let's get that done," the president said.