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GOP yes votes on the 'fiscal cliff' may draw conservative opposition in next year's primaries

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DES MOINES, Iowa - Republicans in Congress who took the risky step of voting to raise taxes are now finding themselves trying to fend off potential primary challenges next year from angry conservatives.

These lawmakers are wasting little time in trying to deliver an explanation that would be acceptable to the tea party and the GOP's right flank, and, perhaps, insulate themselves from a re-election battle against a fellow Republican.

They've started defending the vote as one that preserves tax cuts for most Americans, while promising to fight for spending cuts in upcoming debates over raising the nation's borrowing limit.

It was the first time in two decades that a significant number of Republicans voted for a tax increase; 33 Senate Republicans did so and 85 House members who broke with their GOP majority.

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