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Obama returns to work on fiscal cliff

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President Barack Obama was to cut his holiday short and head back to Washington on Wednesday to try to address the "fiscal cliff," a set of tax hikes and spending cuts to take effect next year. 

US President Barack Obama, pictured in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 23, 2012. Obama was to cut his holiday short and head back to Washington on Wednesday to try to address the 'fiscal cliff,' a set of tax hikes and spending cuts to take effect next year.

Despite weeks of negotiations, Obama has been unable to reach a budget deal with congressional Republicans to slash the deficit and avert the mandatory austerity measures, which could pitch the economy back into recession.

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