President says still issues to resolve in "Fiscal Cliff" talks - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

President says still issues to resolve in "Fiscal Cliff" talks

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News & CBS) - With the fiscal cliff clock continuing to tick, President Obama says Monday it appears a deal "is within sight, but it is not done."

Speaking at the White House amid a group of ordinary Americans, the President says "there are still issues left to resolve, but we're hopeful that Congress can get it done." He says the deal will likely include tax cuts extended towards tuition to pay for college, for clean energy and extend unemployment benefits to 2 million people still actively looking for jobs.

He says he was hoping to have passed a grand bargain, but said "with this congress" it wouldn't happen at this time. Both sides have been unable to make such a sweeping deal for more than a year, and they set the midnight deadline months ago as motivation.

Officials familiar with Monday's negotiations said an agreement would address the biggest issue by raising tax rates on family income over $450,000 a year. But how to handle deep spending cuts remained a problem. The contours of a deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" were emerging.

Officials familiar with the negotiations said the agreement would raise tax rates on families making over $450,000 a year to 39.6 percent. The tax on estates worth more than $5 million would increase to 40 percent from 35 percent.

But the officials said the White House and Republicans were at an impasse over what to do about automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to start taking effect Tuesday. Democrats want to put off the cuts for one year and offset them with unspecified revenue.

Urgent talks continued between the White House and congressional Republicans, with longtime negotiating partners Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell leading. The deal would achieve about $600 billion in new revenue, the officials said.

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