WASHINGTON - As the pace of talks quickened to avert the "fiscal cliff" of steep tax hikes and spending cuts set for the end of the year, senior members of the US House of Representatives of both parties cautioned that an agreement on all the outstanding issues remained uncertain.
Republicans and Democrats are not close to "finishing anything," California Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican whip in the House, told Fox News Monday night.
"There's nothing agreed to. They are just beginning to talk," he said of House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama.
Meanwhile, Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said on MSNBC Monday he thought Congress could resolve some of the issues by the December 31 deadline -- among them the hikes in tax rates-but might have to leave others for the new Congress that takes office in January.