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Obama to Return to Washington as Fiscal Cliff Looms

  • VOA News

U.S. President Barack Obama is cutting short his vacation in the Pacific state of Hawaii and will return to Washington to resume talks with congressional leaders aimed at reaching agreement on a deficit reduction package before the year ends.

The White House says Obama will leave Wednesday and is expected to arrive back in Washington early Thursday.

Early last week, the president said he and Republican House Speaker John Boehner were relatively close to an agreement on a compromise to avert what is being called a "fiscal cliff" -- $500 billion in mandated spending cuts and tax increases that would affect almost all American workers starting January 1. But by the end of last week, those efforts were in disarray as lawmakers fled Washington for their Christmas holiday break.

Obama and his family had also left town for Hawaii and what would normally be an extended vacation. But this year, Obama will return early for the fiscal talks.

The holiday recess began shortly after House Republicans abandoned an attempt to pass a Boehner compromise proposal that would have raised taxes for millionaires while keeping tax cuts for everyone else. Obama wants the tax break extended only up to the $400,000 level.

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