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Progress seen in last-minute fiscal-cliff talks

Obama: Deal not yet complete; work continues

WASHINGTON – President Obama said it appears an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff is “in sight,” but said it’s not yet complete and work continues.

Obama said this has been a “pressing issue on people’s minds,” and told an audience of middle-class taxpayers the deal would, among other things, extend unemployment benefits for U.S. residents “who are still out there looking for a job.”

He voiced regret that the work of the administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill won’t produce a “grand bargain” on tax-and-spend issues, but said that “with this Congress, it couldn’t happen at that time.”

Officials familiar with the negotiations said an agreement would raise tax rates on family income of more than $450,000 a year and increase the estate tax rate.

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