Stalling Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

Heather Ginsberg

12/30/2012 3:44:00 PM - Heather Ginsberg

UPDATE: Senator Harry Reid appeared on the floor of the Senate this evening announcing that there would be no vote tonight. He said that they will reconvene Monday morning at 11am. “There’s still significant distance between the two sides, but negotiations continue,” Reid said. “There’s still time left to reach an agreement, and we intend to continue negotiations.” With only one day left of the year, it is looking like a very slim chance the two sides can come together to reach a fiscal cliff deal.

UPDATE: Republicans have taken the CPI off the table in an effort to help negotiations. Yet, Senators are still told not to make plans for New Year's Eve as it is expected talks will continue tomorrow.

Negotiations between Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have hit a major set back today after Republicans demanded a new method for calculating entitlement benefits be included in the fiscal cliff solution.

Many liberals oppose the provision, known as “chained CPI,” because it would result in lower payments for Social Security beneficiaries. However, President Obama has supported it as a way to reduce the deficit. Senate Democrats say that this provision does not need to be included in a scaled-down fiscal cliff deal.

Republicans have stated that this new provision is in exchange for raising tax rates, but Harry Reid has announced on the floor that he will not accept any cuts to social security as part of this fiscal cliff deal. Earlier today McConnell complained that Reid has yet to submit a counter offer to a proposal that was submitted by the Republicans last night. McConnell said this afternoon, “The majority leader’s staff informed us they would be getting back to us this morning at 10 a.m., despite the obvious time crunch we all have. It’s now 2 p.m., and we have yet to receive a response to our good-faith offer. Now, I’m concerned about the lack of urgency here. I think we all know we’re running out of time.”

McConnell even reached out to Vice President Biden to see if his former colleague could try to help kick the negotiations into gear. So far the Vice President has remained on the side lines in these negotiations so it will be interesting to see if McConnell was able to get through to him to try and help reach a compromise.

President Obama appeared on Meet the Press this morning with David Gregory and basically managed to blame the lack of a deal on the Republicans. However, what seems to be happening is the Republicans reaching out to Democrats with no response. Harsh concessions have been made on the right, but the liberals have barely managed to meet the Republicans in the middle. Additionally, the House has managed to pass a bill solving the fiscal cliff, but the Senate has yet to vote on it or even address the options given in that bill. Although President Obama has blamed this stalling fiscal cliff conversation on the Republicans, it is clear that the Democrats are the ones holding things up. When McConnell and his staff offered to work through the night last night, Reid’s office responded by saying they would come back today, and still they have no offer. What more can the Republicans do?