Saturday, December 22, 2012

eh? AP - Obama seeks scaled-down 'fiscal cliff' agreement

Killer instinct would be to go full hog but this is interesting.

President Barack Obama has scaled back his ambitions for a sweeping budget bargain with Republicans. Instead, he's calling for a limited measure sufficient to prevent the government from careening off the "fiscal cliff" in January by extending tax cuts for most taxpayers and forestalling a painful set of agency budget cuts.

In a White House appearance Friday, Obama also called on Congress to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed that would otherwise be cut off for 2 million people at the end of the year.

Obama's announcement was a recognition that chances for a larger agreement before year's end have probably collapsed. It also suggested that any chance for a smaller deal may rest in the Senate, particularly after the collapse of a plan by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to permit tax rates to rise on million-dollar-plus incomes.

"In the next few days, I've asked leaders of Congress to work toward a package that prevents a tax hike on middle-class Americans, protects unemployment insurance for 2 million Americans, and lays the groundwork for further work on both growth and deficit reduction," Obama said. "That's an achievable goal. That can get done in 10 days."

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