Cancel your Christmas break, Congress. With very little hope for a cliff deal before Christmas, congressional leaders told their parties today that they will likely be working through the holidays. Maybe, if they wait long enough, three wise men will finally appear on Capitol Hill.
“We’ve said we’re committed to staying here, we’re going to stay here right up until Christmas Eve, throughout the time and period before the New Year," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters Wednesday.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is also telling his caucus they'll be celebrating the holidays together in Washington. - Read more at Politico
BERNANKE WARNS CONGRESS ... AGAIN AND AGAIN The U.S. economy is already feeling the wrath of the fiscal cliff, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Wednesday, while announcing that the Fed would continue taking steps to help boost economic growth and lower unemployment as the country braces for the crisis.
The Fed Chair should know what he’s talking about, since he popularized the term “fiscal cliff” while testifying before Congress.
Bernanke said as he has before that the Fed “cannot offset the full impact of the fiscal cliff” and urged lawmakers to get past their usual gridlocked nonsense and resolve the issue quickly." - Read more at The Fiscal Times
BOEHNER AND OBAMA: 2 STEPS FORWARD, 3 STEPS BACK The president and congressional Republicans each gave modified proposals this week and it doesn’t appear to have changed a thing.
"The president and I had a pretty frank conversation about just how far apart we are," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters Wednesday. He added that the White House plan is "mainly tax hikes and actually increases spending – it doesn't even begin to solve our debt crisis."
The extension of the Bush-era tax cuts continues to be the main roadblock toward a fiscal cliff deal. Obama is set on letting the tax rates on the nation's wealthiest 2 percent expire, while the latest GOP proposal asked for a permanent extension of the tax rates for all income earners. Sounding a bit like a broken record, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters, “They have refused to accept the fundamental fact that the wealthiest americans will not have their tax cuts extended.” - See the speaker's statement here
POLL: OBAMA WINS PUBLIC APPROVAL ON FISCAL CLIFF Polling results show that the majority of Americans approve of the president's handing of the fiscal cliff negotiations. A new Washington Post poll found that 49 percent of responders think Obama has done a solid job of negotiating the country away from a fiscal crisis, while just 25 percent said they approved of John Boehner's handling of the negotiations. - See the poll here