Newly re-elected President Obama returned to Washington from Chicago on Wednesday to launch negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in Congress to strike a deal to reduce the deficit and avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Fears that gridlock would prevent a deal sent stocks into a nosedive Wednesday. On Capitol Hill, leaders on both sides of the aisle promised flexibility to avoid triggering $600 billion in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of the year, which economists warn would push the U.S. into another recession. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans, who have stood fast against proposals to raise taxes on the rich as part of a bipartisan debt-reduction package, are "willing to accept new revenues" out of a desire to "do what's best for our country." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said it was "better to dance than to fight."
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