President Obama speaks to current and retired members of the U.S. military and their families as they eat a Christmas Day meal in the Anderson Hall mess hall at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Wednesday. Getty Images hide caption

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Alan Krueger, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, warns that consumer spending will drop if Congress and the White House fail to reach a deal on spending cuts and tax increases. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., prepares to announce a debt ceiling deal in July 2011. That deal laid the foundation for the across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect on New Year's Day, 2013. Harry Hamburg/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Harry Hamburg/AP