The Straits Times
Published on Dec 27, 2012

US Congress awaits Obama's return for late push on 'fiscal cliff'


WASHINGTON/HONOLULU (REUTERS) - The United States (US) on Wednesday edged closer to the "fiscal cliff" as Congress waited for President Barack Obama to return from vacation in Hawaii and make one final attempt to avoid huge tax hikes and spending cuts in the New Year.

In the absence of Mr Obama, there was no sign of either side in Congress making an effort to strike a deal. The corridors of the Capitol building were empty except for an occasional police officer, and members' office doors stayed locked.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner has not yet set a date for bringing House members back to Washington from their Christmas break, an aide of the Republican leader said.

That makes the timing of a vote on any budget deal before Dec 31 more difficult.