Senate cliff talks hit rocky patch

Republican McConnell senses lack of urgency; Reid says to 'hang loose'

Dec 30, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

taxes, senate, fiscal cliff, obama
+ Zoom

Last-ditch efforts in the Senate to reach an agreement to avert the so-called fiscal cliff appeared to reach an impasse on Sunday as senators were sent home for the evening.

Just before 6 p.m. in Washington, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that the Senate would recess until 11 a.m. on Monday. Weekend talks aimed at preventing the approximately $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts so far have not produced a proposal that can gain bipartisan support.

Senate Democrats and Republicans met in party caucuses from 3 p.m. until about 6 p.m. No lawmaker emerging from those meetings gave a definitive account of the latest offer from Republicans or any kind of counteroffer from Democrats. Neither Mr. Reid nor Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., provided an assessment of the talks before the Senate went into recess.

Senate Democrats and Republicans met in party caucuses from 3 p.m. until about 6 p.m. No lawmaker emerging from those meetings gave a definitive account of the latest offer from Republicans or any kind of counteroffer from Democrats. Neither Mr. Reid nor Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., provided an assessment of the talks before the Senate went into recess.

In a speech on the Senate floor in the middle of the afternoon, Mr. McConnell said that the GOP had submitted an offer last night around 7 p.m. and hadn't yet received a response from Democrats as of 2 p.m.

“I'm concerned with the lack of urgency here,” Mr. McConnell said. “There's far too much at stake for political gamesmanship. In order to get things moving, I have just spoken with Sen. Reid. I also placed a call to the vice president to see if he could help jump start the negotiations on their side.”

Just after Mr. McConnell spoke, Mr. Reid made a statement on the Senate floor, saying that the Democrats were not in a position at that time to make a counter offer. One possible sticking point is a provision that would change the way inflation is calculated for entitlement benefits.

“I'm not overly optimistic, but I'm cautiously optimistic we can get something,” Mr. Reid said.

He told his colleagues to standby for the rest of the day – and perhaps into the evening – for potential votes on a package that would address the approximately $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to go into effect on Jan. 1.

“Everybody should hang loose,” Mr. Reid said. “Something may break and we may be able to get something done.”

Earlier in the day, President Barack Obama added to the political tension by saying in an interview on NBC's “Meet the Press” that Republicans' “only priority is that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected.”

That rhetoric drew a sharp response from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

“Americans elected President Obama to lead, not cast blame,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement. “The president's comments today are ironic, as a recurring theme of our negotiations was his unwillingness to agree to anything that would require him to stand up to his own party. Needed cuts and reforms that the president agreed to just last year were no longer on the table, as he cited an inability to sell them to Democrats.”

The House came back into session on Sunday and is awaiting a fiscal-cliff bill from the Senate.

If an agreement is reached, final votes may not occur until late on Monday.

0
Comments

What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video

Events

Why are most advisers stuck in the trenches?

What are top advisers doing to stand out? Scott Conroy of Carson Group offers some strategies for success.

Video Spotlight

The Search for Income

Sponsored by PGIM Investments

Recommended Video

Path to growth

Latest news & opinion

Morgan Stanley sees slower fee-based asset flows on fiduciary rule delay

Flows to advisory accounts, while still higher than the start of 2016, dropped off more than 20% from Q2 and were the lowest in a year.

How adviser salaries stack up to other jobs

Median compensation hovers just under $100,000 on the low end and reaches nearly $300,000 for bosses.

Finra ranking brokers in effort to crack down on industry's bad apples

All 634.403 reps have been ranked based on factors such as prior regulatory disclosures, disciplinary actions and employment history.

How to save retirement planning from tax reform

Losing big deductions, even in lieu of a larger standard deduction, may cause taxes to rise in retirement.

Advice firms in a tricky financial position

As revenue growth dips and salaries rise, nearly 90% of firms are at or near capacity.

X

Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print