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'Fiscal Cliff' Deadline Looms, But Sense Of Urgency Seems To Be Lacking

President Obama is "cutting short" a vacation that he'd already said he would cut short. "See you next week," he told reporters last week before leaving for Hawaii. The president is now due back at the White House on Thursday, which is pretty much what was expected. His family will stay in Hawaii until after the New Year.

Senators are also coming back to Washington, but many aren't likely to get to the Capitol until Thursday evening.

And the House? According to The New York Times, "Republican leaders told members last week they would be given a 48-hour notice before they should return, and that notice has not yet been given."

So, the Times notes, though there's "so much at stake," there seems to be "little sense of urgency" when it comes to avoiding a plunge over the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic tax increases and spending cuts due to kick next week as 2012 turns into 2013.

One reason the urgency might not be there is that we're likely headed for another "kick the can" kind of partial solution, Slate's Money Box blog says. That's pretty much what The Wall Street Journal also concludes:

"With so little time, hopes are dimming for anything other than a partial agreement, which would prolong the uncertainty and leave in place some tax or spending measures that act as a serious drag on the weak recovery. This could even trigger another recession, exacerbating the global economic slowdown."

Which all means we may have to keep posting about this so-called cliff for some time beyond Monday midnight's supposed deadline.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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