Fiscal Cliff Notes

Fiscal Cliff Notes

Ho-hum Job Gains Show Lackluster Growth

January 4, 2013

While the seemingly endless fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington fueled widespread economic uncertainty and business pessimism, the workforce added 155,000 jobs in December, meeting analysts’ expectations. The numbers were slightly below the revised gains in November and indicate a lackluster 2 percent economic growth for 2012. 

The Labor Department’s December jobs report released Friday morning shows the unemployment rate held steady at 7.8 percent. The biggest gains were in health care, food services, construction and manufacturing.

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Up Next:Down and Dirty Debt Ceiling Debate

January 3, 2013

While President Obama signed into law Wednesday night the fiscal cliff package eliminating the most urgent threat to he U.S. economy, lawmakers have already pivoted to the next big partisan battle in Washington: raising the debt ceiling.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), in a new op ed, staked out the Republican  position in the upcoming fiscal fight, warning the GOP will not support raising the nation’s borrowing limit unless Congress commits to “long overdue reforms to spending programs that are the very cause of our debt.”...

Cliff Averted, But Plenty of Pain to Go Around

January 2, 2013

Although the House finally passed a bill late Tuesday night that staves off many of the catastrophic effects of the fiscal cliff, this is hardly the long-term solution lawmakers wanted.  The measure, which overwhelmingly passed the Senate early Tuesday and is currently making its way to President Obama’s desk, does little to tame looming economic threats that lawmakers will have to revisit almost immediately.

In two months, House Republicans will square off with the President and congressional Democrats in what is anticipated to be another ugly battle...

House GOP Slams the Breaks on Cliff Deal

January 1, 2013

Just when it looked like Congress had reached a solution to the impending fiscal crisis, House Republicans turned the tables and signaled they are likely to shoot down the Senate’s current cliff bill, which overwhelmingly passed the upper chamber early this morning.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters this afternoon that he will not support the legislation in its current form, adding that the House GOP will likely push for an amendment that adds more spending cuts.

Amending the bill could be the kiss of death for this fiscal cliff...

Super Joe Rescues Cliff Deal

January 1, 2013

Joe Biden might as well have worn a cape and tights, appearing on Capitol Hill at 9:15 pm to brief the Senate Democratic caucus. The vice president took on super hero status for many. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is somewhat grateful to Biden, since the talks finally begin to move once the vice president met with the Kentucky Republican.

About two hours into 2013, the Senate passed by an overwhelming 89-8 the package hashed out over two late days of intense conversations between Biden and McConnell. It extends the Bush-era tax cuts for...

Cliff-Diving into the New Year

December 31, 2012

Happy New Year! Looks like Congress is sending us over the cliff after all. (at least temporarily.) Even if the Senate moves on a deal today, the House will likely not bring it to a vote until tomorrow, CNBC reports. Though both parties say a deal is in reach, it remains uncertain whether the upper chamber plans to hold a vote tonight.

BUT AT LEAST THERE’S A DEAL IN THE MAKING   The Senate is “very, very close to a deal,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Monday afternoon. McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden...

Congress on the Edge of the Ultimate Cliffhanger

December 31, 2012

We all know the drill:  If lawmakers can’t come together and cut a deal by the stroke of midnight tonight, every American will pay more taxes and $109 billion in domestic and defense spending will be slashed from the federal budget , potentially sending the economy back into recession.

But the gulf between Democrats and Republicans in Congress has not been bridged.  Enter Vice President Joe Biden who joined the negotiations at the invitation of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

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Obama Makes Last Stand as Cliff Panic Sweeps U.S.

December 28, 2012

Weeks of teeth gnashing, press conferences, phone calls, and private meetings haven’t solved the fiscal cliff crisis. But President Obama is banking that one last meeting—when it appears that everyone has given up hope—four days away from the New Year’s deadline can’t hurt.

Congressional leaders head to the White House today for one last stab at averting the cliff. But for much of the country, the White House might as well turn out to be the metaphorical woodshed.. It remains unclear whether either side is serious about saving the country from the fiscal...

Senate and House Play Cliff-Deal Ping Pong

December 27, 2012

President Obama and the Senate are back in Washington to ostensibly cobble together a last minute deal to avoid sending the economy over the fiscal cliff. But they might as well have returned after Christmas to point fingers at each other.

Their comments suggest a deal is even less likely than before. House leaders on Wednesday continued to heap the lion’s share of responsibility onto the Senate, a message designed to get more blame assigned to Democrats. But getting a deal through that chamber requires Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to...

Holiday Spending Disappoints Amid Cliff Worries

December 26, 2012

It was not the most wonderful time of the year for retailers. With the threat of the fiscal cliff looming, shoppers spent cautiously this holiday season, disappointing retailers with the weakest year-over-year sales performance since the Great Recession in 2008. Sales went up by just 0.7 percent in the two months before Christmas, compared to last year’s 4 to 5 percent increase in sales over November and December, traditionally the retail industry’s busiest time of year. -  Read more at...