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

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

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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 cliff, or whether they are simply attempting to appear as though they tried everything they could to escape being blamed for the breakdown. re

A cynical Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reconvened the Senate yesterday, as they held the first roll call vote over the Christmas holiday since 1970. Not to be outdone, Speaker Boehner ordered House members back to Washington on Sunday, just one day before the fiscal cliff deadline.  -  Read more at The New York Times

MIDDLE CLASS IN CLIFF CROSSHAIRS FOR 2012    Lawmakers don’t seem all that worried about going over the fiscal cliff in four days, but middle class families sure are. In the increasingly likelihood that a deal can’t be reached, this year alone, roughly 28 million families will owe $86 billion more in taxes than they anticipated thanks to the expiring Alternative Minimum Tax patch that Congress has yet to address.

Unlike the Bush-era tax cuts that have received most of the media attention surrounding the fiscal cliff, if Congress doesn’t patch the Alternative Minimum Tax, the AMT would work retroactively and hit taxpayers right away next year when filing for their 2012 taxes.

The Fiscal Times’ Josh Boak reports that tens of millions of families exposed to the AMT would get slammed with another $2,250 in taxes for 2012. Adding to that, the payroll tax holiday is also set to expire, so families could potentially be faced with the AMT while coping with less take-home pay. -  Read more at The Fiscal Times

PENTAGON IGNORES CLIFF IN 2014 BUDGET    While the rest of Washington is pessimistic that there’s even an inkling of a cliff deal on the horizon, the Pentagon doesn’t seem to be too worried, and is instead, forging ahead with its 2014 budget plans, completely disregarding the fiscal cliff and the more than $50 billion in cuts to defense that would accompany it.

“We are still hopeful that Congress will pass a balanced deficit reduction plan that the president can sign, and sequestration is averted,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins said. -  Read more at The Hill

For more news on the approaching fiscal cliff, follow us on Twitter @Fiscalcliffnote

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.