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The Berkshires

Lawmakers give update on fiscal cliff

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Albany/HV: Lawmakers give update on fiscal cliff
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The clock is ticking on the so-called fiscal cliff. If lawmakers in Washington can't come to an agreement on spending and tax cuts before Jan. 1, many Americans could see a spike in their taxes. Both sides of the aisle and the president came out to talk about what they plan to do before the year is out. Matt Hunter has the details.

WASHINGTON -- With the election now three days behind them, President Obama and members of Congress already find themselves struggling to come to a consensus on an item vital to our economy, the so called "fiscal cliff" which combines Bush era tax cuts and massive spending cuts, all set to expire at the end of the year.

According to a report released by the Congressional Budget Office, while allowing the tax cuts to expire would reduce the country's deficit by roughly $500 billion by the end of next September, it could also lead to between 700,000 and one million jobs being lost.

In recent days, both President Obama and Speaker Boehner have said Democrats and Republicans are willing to work together on this -- even agreeing to meet at the White House next week. However, they still remain at odds over some issues.

The president's plan, which he says will reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade, is a balanced approach that includes spending cuts and higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans, something House Republicans still oppose.

"I'm open to compromise. I'm open to new ideas. I'm committed to solving our fiscal challenges, but I refuse to accept any approach that isn't balanced," said Obama.

House Speaker Rep. John Boehner said, "Everyone wants to get our economy moving again. Everyone wants to get more Americans back to work again. Raising tax rates will slow down our ability to create the jobs that everyone says that they want."

In addition to lower income and investment tax rates that save some American families upwards of several thousand dollars a year, other items that are set to expire included long-term unemployment benefits and reimbursements for doctors who participate in Medicare.

So there's essentially almost no one in the country who wouldn't be affected by this in one way or another. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP