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'Fiscal cliff': Finger-pointing furiously, Congress slouches toward deadline

Speaker Boehner, who called the House back into session Sunday evening, said Thursday it was up to the Senate to act, while majority leader Reid spoke on the Senate floor of a 'dysfunctional' GOP caucus.

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House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer of Md. gestures during a news conference in Washington, Capitol Hill, Thursday, where he urged House Republicans to end the pro forma session and call the House back into legislative session to negotiate a solution to the fiscal cliff.

Evan Vucci/AP

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In a last bid to avert the "fiscal cliff," House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio is calling the House back into session for votes on Sunday evening, but without a sign from either side of the aisle of a new offer that might make a breakthrough possible before the Jan. 1 deadline.

Instead, the leadership of both houses of Congress engaged in a flurry of finger-pointing Thursday, with each saying the other was to blame for the likelihood of the deadline being missed to avoid the fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts.

It's all up to the Senate, Mr. Boehner told House Republicans in a conference call in the afternoon, in a reprise of his comments after failing to get necessary party support last week for his own "Plan B" fallback maneuver while negotiating with President Obama. The House acted back in August to stop all the tax-rate increases and replace mandated spending cuts, or the sequester, with "responsible spending cuts," he reiterated. "These bills await action by the Senate."

 
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