The Financial Cliff

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Friday, July 13, 2012 - 9:10am

Lawmakers are facing a looming deadline.

Members of Congress are ramping up the fight over taxing and spending, but this time, it's more than rhetoric.

If Congress can't reach some agreement by the end of the year, taxes go up for everyone, and across-the-board spending cuts kick in.

While Congress is fighting, a financial doomsday clock is ticking away.

On Capitol Hill, the House is divided on extending the Bush-era tax cuts. "Yes, we have disagreement, but you're prepared to hold hostage working Americans by saying if the richest people in America might have a little bit of a tax increase, then everybody else is going to get a tax increase," said Rep. Steny Hoyer, (D) Maryland.

"Holding hostage working families is denying them a job. It's about jobs!" said Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, (R) Virginia.

President Obama says he'll veto a bill that keeps the cuts for the wealthy, but an even bigger battle is looming.

Congress has until December thirty-first to agree on a pared-down budget, or deep, automatic spending cuts kick in for the domestic and military budgets. “I say the chances are we're going of the over the fiscal cliff and he hate to say it but i think that's probably right,” said Debt Commission Co-Chair Erskine Bowles.

For now, the Senate is squabbling over plans to cut taxes for businesses. “The rest of country which is less interested in class warfare taking uh talking points and more interested in getting economy moving again would embrace it,” said Senator Orrin Hatch, (R) Utah.

“The ONLY argument Republicans could POSSIBLY have against this proposal - is that it MIGHT help the economy. And they don’t want to do that ‘cause they know what that means electorally,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, (D) New York.

Republicans and Democrats don't agree on much, but they do agree on this: the combination of increased taxes and spending cuts could cripple the economy.

More partisan showdowns ahead, but the deadline is still looming.

Brian Mooar, NBC News, Washington.
 

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