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Unable to Compromise, Congress on Verge of Plunging over Fiscal Cliff

Sen. Harry Reid

As Americans have long suspected, Washington lawmakers no longer have the ability to compromise on even the most crucial pieces of legislation, even when the viability of the American economy and the pocketbooks of every American taxpayer are at stake.

With just days to go before the country plunges over the so-called fiscal cliff, the mind-boggling, unbelievable dysfunction of Washington has gotten the country to the point where a deal doesn’t even look remotely close at hand.

It’s stupefying how our elected representatives could let things get to this point.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today admitted that a deal is now unlikely.

“It looks like that’s where we’re headed,” he said on the Senate floor on Thursday. “The American people are waiting for the ball to drop, but it’s not going to be a good drop.”

“I have to be honest: I don’t know, time-wise, how it can happen,” Reid added. “I would hope that the speaker and the Republican leader here in the Senate would come to us and say: here’s what we think will work.”

Earlier, Reid had accused House Speaker John Boehner of running a “dictatorship” in the House, saying Boehner refused to bring to a House vote a bill the Senate passed in July to raise taxes only on those making over $200,000 because Boehner knew it would pass.

But Boehner in turn is accusing Reid and Senate Democrats of refusing to vote on a bill passed by the House to cut spending.

So because both sides have passed their own versions of bills that affirm their view on how the fiscal cliff should be averted, each one can now accuse the other side of refusing to compromise to avert the fiscal cliff.

After returning to Washington from Hawaii—leaving Michelle and the girls behind in Hawaii—the president will meet with congressional leaders from both sides on Friday. Boehner also announced that the House will reconvene on Sunday—after Reid bashed the House today for “watching movies” on vacation while the Senate was in session. When the House reconvenes on Sunday, there will be less than 30 hours to reach a deal before the combination of tax increases and spending cuts goes into effect. Since Boehner warned politicians they may be working beyond the deadline through next Friday, it is assumed they will continue negotiating to pass something to stave off the tax hikes and spending cuts before they all hit.

According to Politico, Boehner told House Republicans that he was “not interested” in passing a fiscal cliff deal with “mostly Democrat votes”—which became a possibility when House Republicans refused to even go along with Boehner’s Plan B last week, demonstrating that he will have an extremely difficult time getting them to go along with anything that raised any taxes, even on just the wealthiest Americans. But it is thought that he would be able to get some type of tax hikes through the House with mostly Democratic votes. But he told his colleagues he was not interested in going that path—therefore preserving his speakership when the House votes in January.

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