Congress returned to work Tuesday, facing down the so-called "fiscal cliff" that threatens to trigger another recession in the United States.
The divided government, consisting of a Democratic president and Senate and a Republican House, continues to be split over the subject, with Democrats insisting upon higher taxes for the wealthy, and Republicans countering that such a move would stunt job creation in the US by heavily taxing "job creators," Reuters reported.
The 112th Congress' session ends December 31, and has set itself an ambitious seven-week deadline to resolve the looming "fiscal cliff."
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"We're three weeks away from serious negotiations on the fiscal cliff," Greg Valliere, chief political strategist at Potomac Research Group, a Washington policy analysis firm, told CNBC. "This is a photo-op week, next week is Thanksgiving, then lawmakers will straggle back to Washington to examine what staffers have come up with. The dominant theme in these three weeks will be trial balloons."
Also on the agenda Tuesday for the House is legislation that would exempt US airlines from emissions requirements that the EU is attempting to put in place for all airlines flying to and from Europe, which are expected to pass, according to the Washington Post.
The first days back in session are "a mix of old and new," Fox reported, as the Senate assigns its leadership positions and the 12 new members — eight Democrats, three Republicans, and one independent — meet their fellow senators. Seventy new members are also joining the House, and will receive a "crash course" in Congress's proceedings, including taking an ethics course, according to Fox.
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