That approach would delay the day of reckoning while also allowing more time for compromise in a Congress that has battled for two years over how best to reduce huge budget deficits.
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No formal agreements have been reached, however, and turning a consensus into an actual deal that avoids jolting the markets or economy will depend on the results of the November 6 general election.
The "cliff" refers to the year-end deadline for the expiration of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tax cuts and the triggering of $109 billion in across-the-board spending cuts. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has said the scenario could throw the country into recession.
Congress created the hazardous end-of-year deadline in August 2O11 when it agreed to a deficit deal as a way out of a deadlock over raising the U.S. debt ceiling.
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