(POLITICO) The tit-for-tat over avoiding the fiscal cliff slogged onward Sunday, as Senate leaders remained essentially stuck following a frantic day of horse-trading and bitter attacks by both Democrats and Republicans.

Both sides now have 48 hours to resolve their differences, or risk a double whammy of historic tax hikes and spending cuts that will make them even more unpopular outside-the-Beltway.

After every breakthrough, there seemed to be a new obstacle standing in the way of a deal, underlining the perception that the nation’s lawmakers and the White House simply can’t come to terms with each other. Vice President Joe Biden — who had remained on the sidelines for much of the negotiations — returned to Washington on Sunday after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) requested it.


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