Dec 31 2012
President Barack Obama has said it appears that an agreement to avoid the US's fiscal cliff is "in sight" but is not yet complete and work continues.
The president said this has been a "pressing issue on people's minds".
Aiming at an audience of middle-class taxpayers, he said the the deal would, among other things, extend unemployment benefits for Americans "who are still out there looking for a job".
He voiced regret that the work of the administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill will not 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 say an agreement would raise tax rates on family income over 450,000 US dollars a year and increase the estate tax rate.