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President Barack Obama warned Congress on Monday that it must raise the debt ceiling or risk a “self-inflicted wound on the economy.” Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also delivered ominous calls for action.

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This fiscal cliff: averted.

Next fiscal cliff: ahead.

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“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned,” reads the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The upcoming fight to raise the national debt ceiling has again pushed the clause into the spotlight. Here is some important recent history on the issue:

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Want to make sure your calendar is clear when we hit the debt ceiling? Then don’t schedule anything between Feb. 15 and March 1.

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Every election year, they become the popular ones, the celebrities with the power to hire or fire politicians. Then, when actual governing begins, they become the forgotten ones – jilted wallflowers watching as the leaders they elected are devoured into a political system dominated by extremes.

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The eleventh-hour compromise that avoided the fiscal cliff cannot be repeated when it comes time to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, top lawmakers agreed Sunday.

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Now that the House has passed a Senate deal to avert the fiscal cliff, it will become law when President Obama signs it. He has returned to Hawaii to join his family on vacation.

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The fiscal bill passed by Congress solves an immediate dilemma, averting income-tax increases for most Americans while taxing top-earners more, yet leaves unanswered a longer-term question of taming the federal debt.

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After briefly pumping the brakes, House Republicans were poised Tuesday night to pass the deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” despite deep misgivings about hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending included in the compromise foisted on them by Senate Republicans and the White House.

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A long line of America’s top chief executives have rotated through Washington in recent weeks, loudly urging lawmakers and the White House to reach a broad deal to fix the budget. They once sounded optimistic. Now many of them aren’t talking, and if they are, they’re gloomy.

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Buried within the mass of tax and spending provisions known as the fiscal cliff is a problem that could cause grief for taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service.

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A new poll finds the public’s fears over the looming “fiscal cliff” growing, as the year-end deadline for a deficit deal nears.

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