WASHINGTON (AP) — Rank-and-file lawmakers are hoping that their leaders will give them a fiscal cliff deal to vote on when they return to Capitol Hill this morning.
While lawmakers have some wiggle room, today is the deadline to avert big tax hikes and sweeping spending cuts.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell remain at odds on such key issues as the income threshold for higher tax rates and how to deal with inheritance taxes, among other issues. McConnell reached out to Vice President Joe Biden, a longtime friend, in hopes of breaking the impasse. Biden assumed the lead role for Democrats, and a McConnell spokesman said the Kentucky Republican and the vice president were expected to negotiate by telephone into the night.
One sign of progress came as Republicans withdrew a long-discussed proposal to slow future cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients.
213-a-13-(Senator Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., speaking on the Senate floor)-"great national purpose"-Senator Joe Manchin says lawmakers need to make some tough choices in the next day or so. (30 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *213 (12/30/12)>> 00:13 "great national purpose"
215-a-12-(Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, speaking on the Senate floor)-"country every taxpayer"-Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison says there is an urgent need to compromise. (30 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *215 (12/30/12)>> 00:12 "country every taxpayer"
065-v-32-(Ross Simpson, AP correspondent)--The fiscal deal that President Barack Obama and Congress are trying to cobble together before the new year will be much smaller than what they'd initially envisioned. AP correspondent Ross Simpson reports. (30 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *065 (12/30/12)>> 00:32
066-v-34-(Ross Simpson, AP correspondent)--As Senate negotiators try to reach agreement on a scaled-back deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, they've thrown a grand plan out the window. AP correspondent Ross Simpson reports. (30 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *066 (12/30/12)>> 00:34
187-a-11-(Senator John Thune, R-S.D., with reporters)-"today or tomorrow"-Republican Senator John Thune says he's encouraged that Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell is working with Vice President Biden to get the talks moving. ((longer version of cut in wrap)) (30 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *187 (12/30/12)>> 00:11 "today or tomorrow"