With 2012 coming to a close, the country sits just hours away from the much maligned fiscal cliff. Congressional negotiations have been an exercise in bipartisan division, but with mandatory spending cuts and a major tax hike looming over the horizon, the House of Representatives ended Monday’s session without voting on any sort of plan, leaving Senate negotiators to complete a deal that would satisfy both Republicans and Democrats.
President Barack Obama had announced earlier on Monday afternoon that a preliminary agreement was coming into place, though not completed. “They are close, but they’re not there yet,” Obama announced from the Senate floor. “And one thing we can count on with respect to this Congress is that if there is even one second left before you have to do what you’re supposed to do, they will use that last second.”
Updates throughout the day suggested that the Senate intended to vote on a deal before the New Year, but as of 7 p.m. no details have surfaced. A source told CNN’s Jessica Yellin that Vice President Joe Biden would discuss a completed plan with senators once it was finalized, but that negotiators were still considering details. Previous talks of a delay of the deadline seem to have faltered too, though Republicans had requested a three month delay, and some Democrats asked for a full year for further negotiations.
Should 2013 roll around with no deal in place, newly effective taxes could cripple the still recovering U.S. economy. Though every American would feel the additional wait of across-the-board tax increases, neither political party seems keen to sacrifice the interests of their demographics. While saying that Congress was close to a deal, Obama also took the opportunity to lay into Republican leaders, accusing them of defending America’s highest earners.
Obama taunted Republicans, saying that if they plan on reducing spending with cuts “that will hurt seniors, or hurt students, or hurt middle-class families without asking also equivalent sacrifice from millionaires or companies with a lot of lobbyists … they’ve got another think coming.”
Senate GOP members have been steadfast in their position, and their oath as Republicans. Should America tumble over the fiscal cliff, Republicans will probably face a large portion of the blame, specifically in the House of Representatives, where they hold the majority. If such an urgent crisis as the fiscal cliff cannot overcome bipartisan politics, there may be nothing that can.