It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
With Congress headed for a recess, prospects are dimming for a deal to keep the nation from falling off the next fiscal cliff - sequestration. That's the term for automatic spending cuts that go into effect March 1.
NPR's Mara Liasson explains how the White House and Congress got to this impasse and why it's so hard to get past it.
(We updated the top of this post at 1:30 p.m. ET.)
Looking to head off deep, automatic spending cuts set to kick in on March 1, President Obama on Tuesday afternoon said that to avoid the negative economic effects that come with "political disfunction," Congress should move quickly to pass "a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms" that won't hurt the economy.