Dec. 30 - The chances of a deal to prevent the U.S. economy from tumbling over a ''fiscal cliff'' remain uncertain Sunday. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The chances of a deal to prevent the U.S. economy from tumbling over a "fiscal cliff" remained uncertain on Sunday as lawmakers haggled over how to prevent taxes for all Americans from rising on New Year's Day. Republican leader Mitch McConnell, took to the floor of the Senate saying he wants to make a deal but needs a "dance partner." Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was just not able to make a counter offer to Republicans but said that he might be able to later. Any agreement needs to be rushed through both chambers of Congress before midnight on Monday. One Democratic Senate aide said it was uncertain whether the leaders would reach an accord. Reid and McConnell had been aiming to have an agreement by 3 p.m. EST so that they could present it to previously scheduled closed-door meetings of their party colleagues. If the politicians cannot agree, then tax increases and across-the-board government spending cuts will begin on Jan. 1. That would take $600 billion out of the economy, push unemployment up and curb federal spending. The main focus of negotiations was tax hikes on the wealthy, an increase sought by President Barack Obama but opposed by Republicans, particularly fiscal conservatives in the House of Representatives. Obama made a rare appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" to pressure lawmakers into forging a deal.