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Nov 18, 2012 9:29 PM by Bernie Riggs - KPAX News

Baucus hopes Congress can avoid 'fiscal cliff'

MISSOULA - Senator Max Baucus was in town Saturday to hand out the trophy for Montana's "Brawl of the Wild.", but he's headed back to Washington, DC to try and find a solution to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Members of Congress need to come up with an agreement soon or automatic tax increases and budget cuts will take effect in early 2013. Baucus, who sits on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, says the consequences of hitting the fiscal cliff are "dire."

Congress must compromise on a deal before the end of December that would most likely extend tax cuts, delay automatic budget cuts, and raise the debt ceiling. Baucus says he hopes members of Congress can put the politics aside and find a reasonable, balanced solution.

"I expect good faith because the elections are over, and more than that, members of congress know what the problem is. They know that we've got a huge big debt that's gotta be chipped away at, know we can't go off this fiscal cliff, and I think we'll find a solution," the Democrat said.

Economists caution that if an agreement cannot be reached, the economy would fall back into a recession and stifle job creation. The average Montana family would see about a $2,000 to $3,000 tax increase if no deal is reached.

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