Lawmakers see 'fiscal cliff' deal as elusive

WASHINGTON - With anxiety rising as the country lurches towards a "fiscal cliff," lawmakers are increasingly skeptical about a possible deal and some predict the best possibility would be a small-scale patch because time is running out before the yearend deadline.

Sen. Joe Lieberman predicted Sunday: "We're going to spend New Year's Eve here, I believe."

Even those who see the possibility of a deal don't expect a lot.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said she expects "it is going to be a patch because in four days we can't solve everything."

If the country heads over the fiscal cliff, that would mean higher taxes for most Americans and painful federal agency budget cuts.

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