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


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Another might be for President Obama to direct the Treasury to delay tax hikes unilaterally, until a deal is finalized, a strategy President George H.W. Bush used for a limited period of time when a tax deal with Congress appeared imminent.

On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made a similar proposal when he told Congress that the nation would run up against its debt ceiling on Dec. 31, but that he would use “exceptional measures” to avoid the US breaching its borrowing limits for at least another month.

“The message from Geithner is that the world is not going to end on New Year’s eve, that there’s some flexibility in the system,” says Ross Baker, a congressional expert at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N. J.


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