Last Minute Fiscal Cliff Deal Emerging
With less than twelve hours to go before the end of the year, it would appear that agreement is close on a deal that would avoid the largest part of the so-called Fiscal Cliff:
Most of the world is counting down to a midnight New Year’s celebration while Congress continues to watch the clock and count down to another deadline, despite the efforts of lawmakers to avert the ” fiscal cliff.”
And as President Obama is set to urge negotiators to focus on the middle-class, CBS News has learned that there’s been agreement on one of the major hangups to a deal.
Multiple congressional sources tell CBS News that the two sides have agreed on an income threshold for the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans: $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families. For weeks, Democrats have pushed for letting the cuts expire for those making over $200,000 and families making over $250,000 while Republicans have wanted to renew the cuts for all Americans, including the wealthiest.
Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have been the key negotiators over the past 24 hours and the movement on taxes represents a huge step forward in the talks.
Other items that could be included in a deal include an extension of unemployment benefits and reimbursement rates for doctors who treat Medicare patients. As both of those items are costly, Republicans are worried that the new deal could raise the deficit instead of cutting it.
Of course this leaves major issues such as the debt ceiling and the sequestration cuts unresolved, and merely guarantees that we’ll see another debacle like this in two or three months time. But, hey, we’ll be needing something to entertain us about then anyway.