WASHINGTON Dec 30 Financial markets would be
affected adversely if U.S. lawmakers fail to agree on a "fiscal
cliff" deal before Tuesday, President Barack Obama said in an
interview broadcast on Sunday, while urging Congress to act
quickly to extend tax cuts for middle-class Americans.
Lawmakers are working on a last-minute deal that would set
aside $600 billion in tax increases and across-the-board
government spending cuts that are set to start within days. If
Congress does not make that happen, the first bill brought up in
the new year would be to reduce taxes for middle-income
families, Obama told NBC's "Meet the Press."
"Now I think that over the next 48 hours, my hope is that
people recognize that, regardless of partisan differences, our
top priority has to be to make sure that taxes on middle-class
families do not go up. That would hurt our economy badly," Obama
said in an interview taped on Saturday.
"We can get that done. Democrats and Republicans both say
they don't want taxes to go up on middle-class families. That's
something we all agree on. If we can get that done, that takes a
big bite out of the 'fiscal cliff.' It avoids the worst
outcomes," Obama added.
Obama said that failing to reach a deal would have a
negative impact on financial markets.
"If people start seeing that on January 1st this problem
still hasn't been solved, that we haven't seen the kind of
deficit reduction that we could have had had the Republicans
been willing to take the deal that I gave them ... then
obviously that's going to have an adverse reaction in the
markets," he said.