Fitch says "fiscal cliff" may cost U.S. AAA rating

NEW YORK Fitch Ratings is warning that the U.S. is more likely to lose its top-notch "AAA" debt rating if lawmakers and President Barack Obama cannot agree on how to cut the deficit and the country goes over the "fiscal cliff" of deep government spending cuts and tax increases next year.

But the credit ratings agency said in a report Wednesday that if lawmakers can agree on a deficit-cutting plan, the U.S. would be more likely to keep its "AAA" rating. Fitch would raise its outlook to stable from negative.

In November, Fitch said Obama must work toward a credible plan to avoid the fiscal cliff or risk losing the "AAA" rating.

In the first-ever downgrade of U.S. government debt, Standard & Poor's last year cut its rating from "'AAA" to "AA+."

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