Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday warned Congress that allowing the U.S. to run over the fiscal cliff — a package of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the end of the year — would have a disastrous effect on the still-fragile economic recovery. In his most high-profile speech in three months, Bernanke also said lawmakers should reach a deal as quickly as possible, since ongoing uncertainty over the fiscal cliff has already had a perceptible negative impact on the economy. Republicans and Democrats have already begun negotiations on a budget deal to avoid the cliff, though the two sides have to agree on whether to raise taxes on high-income earners, as President Obama promised to do on the campaign trail.
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