by ZACHARY A. GOLDFARB, The Washington Post

Sixteen of the nation’s largest financial services firms warned President Obama and Congress in a letter Thursday that interest rates could spike significantly if they do not come to an agreement to stop the series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the “fiscal cliff.”

Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon, Bank of America chief Brian Moynihan and 13 other top executives signed on to a letter demanding prompt action. Without it, they warned, the economy could be hit hard and the United States could suffer a second debt ratings downgrade.

“Another downgrade of our nation’s debt by a major rating service . . . could lead to significantly higher interest rates,” the letter says. “Higher interest payments would worsen our nation’s fiscal burden and likely increase the uncertainty and instability in global financial markets.”

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