Lawmakers pushes United States to edge of 'fiscal cliff'
But with the two sides still at loggerheads in talks, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid postponed any possible votes and the Senate adjourned until Monday, leaving mere hours to pass any deal that may emerge through both chambers of a bitterly divided Congress.
"There are still significant differences between the two sides," Reid said on the Senate floor.
Behind closed doors, the parties kept seeking a way to bridge deep divides over taxes and spending. But even if a deal emerges in the coming hours, under Senate rules any one of the 100 senators could prevent the chamber from acting quickly. Prospects are also uncertain in the House of Representatives, where dozens of conservative Republicans could oppose any deal that includes a tax increase on the nation's wealthiest households.
As the hours ticked away, it appeared increasingly likely that Washington's failure to act would deliver a $600 billion hammer blow to the fragile US economic recovery. "Something has gone terribly wrong when the biggest threat to the American economy is the American Congress," said Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Americans could see a bigger bite taken out of
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