White House presses for 11th-hour tax deal

WASHINGTON Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:36pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Tuesday accused congressional Republicans of trying to score political points against President Barack Obama and said it still expects Congress to reach an "11th hour" tax deal.

"This Congress needs to do its job and stop the tax hike that's scheduled to affect 160 million Americans in 18 days," the White House said after the Republican-led House of Representatives defied Obama's veto threat and passed a bill to expedite approval of the Keystone XL Canada-to-Texas pipeline project as part of broader bill to extend payroll tax cuts.

White House press secretary Jay Carney pressed lawmakers to find a compromise before they leave for the holidays. "It is our expectation that in the eleventh hour, congressional Republicans and Democrats will come to an agreement to protect the middle class and finish their budget work for the year," he said.

(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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