Bud­get talks to re­sume on ‘cliff’

With time run­ning out, some law­mak­ers doubt a deal will get done be­fore the dead­line. Po­lice chief seeks to restart safety mea­sures af­ter city ex­pe­ri­ences most deaths in decade.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - Byjonathanweis­man new York times Talks cgrisales@states­man.com Fa­tal­i­ties JAY Jan­ner / Amer­i­can-states­man TRAF­FIC FA­TAL­I­TIES IN AUSTIN, BY YEAR YEAR 2012 (to date) Source: Austin Po­lice De­part­ment DEATHS

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is ex­pected to meet with con­gres­sional lead­ers Fri­day and House Repub­li­cans sum­moned law­mak­ers back for a Sun­day ses­sion in a last-ditch ef­fort to avert a fis­cal cri­sis brought on by au­to­matic tax in­creases and spend­ing cuts sched­uled to hit next week.

Repub­li­cans ex­pressed a flicker of hope Thurs­day that a deal could still be reached to at least avert most of the tax in­creases Tues­day, to pre­vent a sud­den cut in pay­ments to med­i­cal providers treat­ing Medi­care pa­tients and to ex­tend ex­pir­ing un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits.

But both par­ties’ lead­ers said time is run­ning out.

“Here we are, five days from the new year, and we might fi­nally start talk­ing,” said Sen. Mitch McCon­nell of Ken­tucky, the Se­nate Repub­li­can leader.

The over­rid­ing emo­tion Thurs­day, as sen­a­tors con­vened for a rare ses­sion be­tween Christ­mas and New Year’s Day, ap­peared to be em­bar­rass­ment. The con­tin­u­ing im­passe “demon­strates a tremen­dous lack of courage here in Washington to ad­dress the is­sues that need to be ad­dressed — at ev­ery level,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

Law­mak­ers and aides from

By Clau­dia Grisales

Po­lice Chief Art Acevedo said Thurs­day he’s hope­ful of­fi­cials will be able to re­duce the num­ber of traf­fic fa­tal­i­ties in 2013 fol­low­ing what has been the dead­li­est year on Austin’s road­ways in more than a decade.

There have been 77 traf­fic deaths in Austin this year, the most the city has seen since the same num­ber was recorded in 2000.

Acevedo told the Amer­i­can-States­man that he hopes a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors — such as re­in­sti­tut­ing suc­cess­ful traf­fic safety ini­tia­tives, boost­ing pa­trols, cre­at­ing stiffer penal­ties and con­duct­ing a re­gional “traf­fic sum­mit” with other law en­force­ment agen­cies — will lower the death toll in 2013.

“It’s been a really bad year,” Acevedo said af­ter a news con­fer­ence at City Hall an­nounc­ing a New Year’s Eve traf­fic safety ini­tia­tive. “It was a bloody year on our high­ways. There is no ex­cuse for it. 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 77 76 71 52 73 61 64 60 59 62 49 54

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