(Bloomberg) The U.S. House of Representatives doesn’t plan any votes on the federal budget tonight, meaning that Congress for now will fail to avert $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to start at midnight.
Taxpayers and investors won’t see immediate effects of the changes, which would accumulate over a matter of months. Congress could reverse them by acting retroactively early in 2013. There are signs they may do just that.
Earlier today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said lawmakers in Congress were “very, very close” to a deal to avert the budget changes, known as the fiscal cliff. The Kentucky Republican called on lawmakers to “pass the tax-relief portion” of a budget agreement being negotiated that would continue lower tax rates for all but the highest earners.
The only House votes scheduled for today are on non-budget items, according to the chamber’s schedule. House Republicans plan a private conference meeting at 5 p.m. Washington time, and Senate Republicans will meet at 4:30 p.m.
President Barack Obama said before McConnell spoke that a deal to avert tax increases and spending cuts starting tomorrow is “within sight” though it hasn’t been completed.
“It appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year’s tax hike is within sight, but it’s not done,” Obama told a group of what the White House described as middle-class taxpayers. He urged people to “keep the pressure on over the next 12 hours or so; let’s get this thing done.”
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