In just a matter of hours, if Congress can’t come to a compromise, the federal budget will be slashed by $85 billion across the board. Unlike the fiscal-cliff negotiations, which also ran out the clock on New Year’s Eve, a last-minute deal does not look very likely. President Obama has called for the top lawmakers, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Mitch McConnell, for a last-second negotiation, but after White House talks Boehner reportedly ruled out any suggestion of tax hikes and said now is the time to focus on spending. As an additional sign of their unwillingness to settle with the Senate, representatives left town for the weekend.
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