Tim Walz says he's willing to compromise on fiscal cliff deal

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Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz is apparently willing to compromise on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Walz, who backs raising taxes on incomes of $250,000, said he is willing to compromise on a deal that would raise taxes on income earners of $400,000 instead -- and has told GOP House Speaker John Boehner he will cooperate, MPR says.

The term "fiscal cliff" originated with U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in February, who said before Congress that "a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases" would occur Jan. 1, 2013, if a compromise on a long-term debt reduction plan wasn't reached.

Jan. 1 is when the George W. Bush-era tax rates will expire and $1.2 trillion in unpopular spending cuts over a decade are triggered, USA Today reports. The combined effect of that happening and a debt-reduction deal not being reached could land the country back in another recession.

Walz is returning to Washington on Sunday for a Democratic briefing, and he told MPR that's he's optimistic of a deal soon in the House. Walz also expressed confidence in a short-term farm bill extention that would keep dairy prices from spiking.

Among the other effects: As many as 12,000 Minnesotans are also at risk of losing their unemployment benefits is the congressional gridlock remains.

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