Senior lawmakers in both political parties predicted an end to a standoff on the U.S. fiscal cliff that threatens to yield $607 billion in tax increases and automatic spending cuts in January, while saying the details of a debt-cutting deal may come later.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, said he thinks lawmakers can reach a "framework agreement" directing tax and spending panels in Congress to craft a broad deal next year that cuts soaring budget deficits. At the same time, he said, they could agree now to a smaller package of spending cuts and some tax-code changes before the year is over.

If the legislative panels don't act, all sides would have to agree to a fallback plan that would be more acceptable than the automatic approach that is sparking economic uncertainty, Conrad said yesterday on "Fox News Sunday."

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