fiscal cliff

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Did you feel that pullback January 1st? That was Congress finally passing a compromise bill to prevent the country from careening off the fiscal cliff. In the early hours of 2013, the Senate passed the bill. And much later that day, the House passed it.

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Well, here we are. It's New Year's Eve and with just hours to go before the end of the year and the arrival of the so-called fiscal cliff, Democrats and Republicans in Washington are still trying to strike a deal that heads off automatic increases in taxes, automatic deep spending cuts in a variety of programs and the automatic expiration of some jobless benefits.

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Missourians are already seeing changes in healthcare coverage since the Affordable Care Act was first implemented. According to Ryan Barker,  Director of Health Policy for the Missouri Foundation for Health, changes already affecting Missourians include provisions allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26, Medicare coverage of preventative services without a co-pay, and a new rule that requires some insurance providers to partially reimburse customers if they don’t limit overhead and administrative costs.

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A new bipartisan group of Missouri leaders is trying to put pressure on Congress to address the national debt – and says tens of thousands of Missouri jobs are at stake.  The Missouri “Fix the Debt” campaign held its first event in Jefferson City Monday. The group is urging action before the so-called fiscal cliff takes effect.

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With a looming so-called fiscal cliff and a split of control in Congress, President Barack Obama and federal legislators are under pressure to come to a quick solution. But Missouri’s senators have taken sides over a tax hike in the President’s plan.

When it comes to solving the fiscal cliff problem, the biggest disagreement between Republicans and Democrats in Congress deals with raising the tax rate on the wealthiest Americans. Missouri’s two senators have fallen in line with their parties and sit in opposite corners on the issue.

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Missouri's two U.S. senators are taking opposite positions on whether to raise taxes on the wealthy as part of a solution to the so-called fiscal cliff facing the economy.

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said Wednesday that she supports President Barack Obama's insistence that top income-earners should face higher tax rates. But Republican Sen. Roy Blunt said he opposes increasing the tax rates for anyone.

The divide between Missouri's senators is emblematic of the stalemate in Washington.