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Reporters surround Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., on Sunday outside the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Washington, during negotiations on the “fiscal cliff,” the automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts that could kick in Jan. 1. Senate leaders remained at odds as the deadline draws perilously near.

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Cliff deal proving elusive

A Capitol Hill deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” was proving elusive Sunday as a deadline to avert tax hikes on virtually every American worker and block sweeping spending cuts set to strike the Pentagon and other federal agencies grew perilously near.

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