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GOP lawmakers see automatic cuts as leverage

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ There's a growing sense of resignation that the county's political leaders will be unable or unwilling to find a way around looming automatic spending cuts despite fresh signs the trims would threaten the recovering economy.

On one side are conservative Republicans, outnumbered and frustrated, who see the painfully large cuts as leverage in their battle to force Democrats into concessions on the budget. On the other side are President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies, who are pressing to replace some of the cuts with new tax revenues.

The predictable deadlock â¿¿ and looming cuts of $85 billion this budget year alone â¿¿ has the potential to slam the economy, produce sweeping furloughs and layoffs at federal agencies and threatens hundreds of thousands of private sector jobs.

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Chrysler now a rising star among automakers

DETROIT (AP) â¿¿ In just three years, Chrysler has gone from government ward to rising star.

The No. 3 U.S. automaker made $1.7 billion last year thanks to big gains for its much-improved cars and trucks, and it's expecting profits to reach $2.2 billion this year.

It's a big improvement over 2011, when Chrysler earned $138 million. And it's even more remarkable considering that Chrysler was in bankruptcy and living on taxpayer loans just three years ago.

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Toyota recalls 1.29 million vehicles for air bags, wipers

TOKYO (AP) â¿¿ Toyota is recalling over one million cars around the world for faulty air bags and defective windshield wipers.

The move comes just days after Toyota regained its spot as the world's No. 1 automaker from U.S. rival General Motors Co., with global vehicle sales that climbed to a record 9.748 million vehicles. The company is now recalling 907,000 cars, mostly Corollas, due to air bags that can improperly inflate when the vehicle's electronic signals damage a chip in the part that controls the air bags. It also is recalling 385,000 Lexus IS luxury cars with wipers that can get stuck if there is heavy snowfall.

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