With the fiscal cliff set to go over January 1, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have been locked in weekend negotiations trying to strike a deal before Bush-era tax cuts expire.
Senate negotiators worked late into Saturday night to try and resolve the persistent disagreements that have kept Washington – and America — on its toes, the Washington Post reported. Earlier today, Reid and McConnell set 3 p.m. as their deadline to reach a deal.
However, the afternoon deadline came and went with no agreement, and Reid later announced that a breakthrough Sunday was unlikely, the Huffington Post reported. He said the Senate would meet again on Monday, New Year's Eve.
"There is still significant distance between the two sides, but negotiations continue. There's still time left to reach an agreement," Reid said, according to the Huffington Post. "We'll have further announcements, perhaps, at 11 in the morning."
By early Sunday evening, the Republicans had given up on including a provision to cut Social Security benefits, but the talks had hit a new wall, Politico reported. The two sides can't agree on how to “turn off” the sequester, the spending cuts at the Pentagon and federal agencies that will take effect on Jan. 2.
According to Politico:
Democrats want to use some of the revenue from increased taxes to postpone those cuts. Republicans, however, are objecting to that proposal, saying they want to get savings from other areas.
The negotiations between the Senate leaders, which would see the bill first, are focused on setting an income tax rate hike threshold for those with $400,000 to $500,000 incomes, CNBC News reported. That number is higher than President Obama was hoping for, but is close to what he proposed to House Speaker John Boehner before their negotiations stalled earlier in December.
President Obama, appearing on "Meet the Press" Sunday, put the onus on the Republicans to solve the fiscal cliff dilemma, which has seen little progress as the two parties remain deadlocked.
“They have had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers,” Obama said in the interview, which was taped Saturday at the White House. “I was modestly optimistic yesterday, but we don’t yet see an agreement, and now the pressure’s on Congress to produce.”
Should a deal still not be reached on Monday (which is looking like a distinct possibility) Obama said that Senate Democrats will present a bill to continue tax cuts for the middle class without dealing with taxation laws for the wealthiest Americans, which has been a major source of contention between Republicans and Democrats, the New York Daily News reported.
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