'Key differences' remain in fiscal cliff talks

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that Democrats and Republicans still had key differences in talks to avert a looming year-end "fiscal cliff." The Democrat added that he had not been able to make a counter-offer to the latest Republican proposal:

I've had a number of conversations with the president and at this stage we're not able to make a counter-offer.

I think that the Republican leader has shown absolutely good faith. It's just that we're apart on some pretty big issues

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Obama hails US budget deal

Barack Obama has hailed a deal to avoid a "fiscal cliff" of stark tax hikes and spending cuts. The US House of Representatives backed the bill by 257 votes to 167.