Fiscal cliff looms, no progress seen - – Rockford’s News Leader

Fiscal cliff looms, no progress seen


WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama and members of Congress are heading back to Washington -- but that doesn't mean there's hope of a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff."

Congressional officials say they don't know of any significant strides toward a compromise during the long Christmas weekend, and they say no negotiations have been set.

Late last week, Obama urged lawmakers to scale back their ambitions, and to send him legislation preventing tax cuts on all but the highest-earning Americans -- and also to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.

But even half-measures face an uncertain future -- meaning the tax increases and spending cuts could go into effect as scheduled next week.

The Senate is due in session tomorrow, but the immediate agenda includes legislation on government surveillance of suspected spies and terrorists abroad. There's also a measure providing $60 billion for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

The House has no plans to convene, after last week's rebellion in which conservatives torpedoed Speaker John Boehner's legislation to prevent a tax increase on most people while letting them take effect on people earning more than a million dollars.

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