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Minnesota Lawmakers in Congress Focus on 'Fiscal Cliff'

Posted at: 11/15/2012 6:33 PM
Updated at: 11/15/2012 6:39 PM
By: Tom Hauser

President Obama will meet with legislative leaders from both major political parties on Friday to begin negotiations on how best to avoid going off a "fiscal cliff."  That's what they're calling what might happen on January 1st if a budget compromise isn't worked out before then.  

The combination of across-the-board spending cuts and expiration of the so-called "Bush tax cuts" from 2001 and 2003 could send the nation into another deep recession.

"The economy will implode," warns Republican Congressman John Kline.  "There's just no question about it. We'll move back into a recession." Kline says cuts or reform to entitlement programs will be necessary. He supports "revenue increases" through elimination of some business and individual tax loopholes, but he strongly opposes any tax rate increases on anyone.

Democratic Senator Al Franken favors tax rate increases on Americans earning over $250,000 per year. He says voters sent a clear message in the 2012 elections.  "I think they want a balanced approach," Franken says.  "I think that means a combination of spending cuts and real revenue."

Franken and Kline agree on one thing--an agreement isn't likely until near the deadline. They say it's also possible they could put off the solution until the next Congress takes office in January.