Deal to avert 'fiscal cliff' proves elusive
WASHINGTON (AP) - The deal in Congress to avert the "fiscal cliff" was proving elusive on Sunday as a deadline to avert tax hikes on virtually every American worker and block sweeping spending cuts set to strike the Defense Department and other federal agencies grew perilously near.
United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell remained at odds on such key issues as the income threshold for higher tax rates and how to deal with inheritance taxes, among other issues.
Mr McConnell complained that Mr Reid had yet to respond to a Republican offer made on Saturday evening and reached out to Vice President Joe Biden, a longtime friend and former senator, in hopes of breaking the impasse.
One sign of progress came as Republicans withdrew a long-discussed proposal to slow future cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients as part of a compromise to avoid the cliff.