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Obama urges lawmakers to resolve "fiscal cliff" before Christmas


08:19, November 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged lawmakers in the Congress to find common ground and avoid the looming "fiscal cliff," saying he was hopeful that Democrats and Republicans could ink a fiscal deal before Christmas.

Every U.S. family will see their taxes go up by more than 2,000 U.S. dollars on average if the nation goes off the "fiscal cliff," Obama said on Wednesday at an event hosted in the White House.

If the country doesn't solve its fiscal challenges, U.S. businesses would be less likely to invest and hire, said Obama, flanked by middle-class family members.

The president called on Americans to pressure their Congressmen and Senators to strike a deal on tax rates and debt reduction in a timely manner.

"It's a set of major decisions that are going to affect millions of families all across this country in very significant ways," Obama stressed.

Unless the Congress acts by the end of this year, a combination of tax hikes and sweeping spending cuts, dubbed the "fiscal cliff" and with a combined amount of about 600 billion U.S. dollars, is set to kick in. Democrats and Republicans have so far locked horns over how to reduce the nation's public debt hovering at 16.2 trillion dollars and tide over the "fiscal cliff."

"Our ultimate goal is an agreement that gets our long-term deficit under control in a way that is fair and balanced. That kind of agreement would be good for our businesses; it would be good for our economy; it would be good for our children's future," he added.

Obama cited economists' prediction that if taxes go up on the middle class in 2013, U.S. consumers will spend about 200 billion U.S. dollars less than they otherwise would have next year.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was scheduled to meet with congressional leaders on Thursday to discuss ways to resolve fiscal challenges facing the world's largest economy, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

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