In response to reporters’ questions on whether the shootings in Newtown have helped change the tone of negotiations over the “fiscal cliff,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday he didn’t know, but it is possible.

“These are excellent questions and there’s been some good reporting on this, but it’s obviously hard to know what the impact of an event like that is on the way that lawmakers and others in Washington approach other issues,” Carney said. “But as the president said in Newtown, a tragedy as unfathomable, unimaginable, as what happened in Newtown reminds us of what really matters.”

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, have been struggling to reach an accord that would prevent the expiration of a series of tax breaks at the end of the year, followed by a $500 billion in automatic spending cuts, that some economists say would plunge the nation over a fiscal cliff.

Negotiations have picked up pace since Friday’s shootings.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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