Members of Ark congressional delegation differ on chances of avoiding fiscal cliff

LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas News Bureau) -- As the U.S. House prepared to meet Sunday for a last-ditch effort to avoid the New Year's Eve "fiscal cliff," members of Arkansas' congressional delegation differed on the likelihood of a successful resolution to the current budget impasse.

In interviews Friday, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said he was optimistic about the chances for a meaningful agreement, while U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, said avoiding the fiscal cliff appeared unlikely. Others in the delegation fell somewhere in between.

If a budget agreement is not reached by midnight on New Year's Eve, a series of automatic tax increases and budget cuts will be triggered that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, could lead to a mild recession in the first half of 2013. Households would see an average federal tax increase of $3,446, and most federal departments would share in a $110 billion spending cut -- including about a 9 percent to the military's budget.

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