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.

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Obama: 'Passing 'fiscal cliff' deal is right for the country'

US President Barack Obama has called for the House of Representatives to follow the Senate's lead and pass a 'fiscal cliff' deal to extend tax cuts for middle-class Americans and raise tax rates on top earners.

"While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country and the House should pass it without delay," Obama said in a statement after the Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve the legislation.

"There's more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I'm willing to do it. But tonight's agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans," Obama said.

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