With hours remaining, US fiscal deal uncertain

In the absence of compromise, tax increases and across-the-board government spending cuts will begin on January 1.

By REUTERS
December 30, 2012 21:27
3 minute read.
US Congress

US Congress 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

WASHINGTON - The chances of a deal to prevent the US economy from tumbling over a "fiscal cliff" remained uncertain on Sunday as lawmakers haggled over how to prevent taxes for all Americans from rising on New Year's Day.

Aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell worked on a compromise to stop automatic tax hikes for most Americans on Jan. 1. Any agreement needs to be rushed through both chambers of Congress before midnight on Monday.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


One Democratic Senate aide said it was uncertain whether the leaders would reach an accord. Reid and McConnell had been aiming to have an agreement by 3 p.m. EST so that they could present it to previously scheduled closed-door meetings of their party colleagues.

"It is going to be difficult," the aide said.

If the politicians cannot agree, then tax increases and across-the-board government spending cuts will begin on Jan. 1. That would take $600 billion out of the economy, push unemployment up and curb federal spending.

The main focus of negotiations was tax hikes on the wealthy, an increase sought by President Barack Obama but opposed by Republicans, particularly fiscal conservatives in the House of Representatives.

Obama made a rare appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" to pressure lawmakers into forging a deal.



Senators appearing on other Sunday morning shows expressed optimism that an agreement could be reached.

"Well, there are certainly no breakthroughs yet between Senator McConnell and Senator Reid, but there's a real possibility of a deal," Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said on the ABC program "This Week."

"I don't disagree with Chuck," said Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican from Arizona.

Another Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, conceded that an agreement would end up raising income taxes on the wealthy, thus sparing the rest of the country from the looming income tax hikes.

"President Obama is going to get tax rate increases. The president won," Graham tweeted, echoing earlier comments he made on "Fox News Sunday." He told the show that the chances of a bipartisan deal before the New Year's deadline were "exceedingly good."

Obama has alternatively offered Republicans a deal to increase income taxes for households earning over $250,000 a year, and over $400,000 a year.

A White House aide said the president and his staff had been in touch with congressional leaders throughout the weekend.

Any deal on taxes in the Senate might meet resistance in the House from conservative Republicans.

Obama warns of potential fallout in markets

On NBC, Obama warned of the fallout in financial markets if the two sides did not reach an agreement.

"If people start seeing that on January 1st this problem still hasn't been solved, that we haven't seen the kind of deficit reduction that we could have, had the Republicans been willing to take the deal that I gave them...then obviously that's going to have an adverse reaction in the markets," Obama said, adding that he had offered Republicans significant compromises that had been rejected repeatedly.

John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, rejected Obama's accusations that Republicans were not being amenable to compromise.

"The president's comments today are ironic, as a recurring theme of our negotiations was his unwillingness to agree to anything that would require him to stand up to his own party," Boehner, who has had trouble convincing his Republican colleagues to support his own proposals, said in a statement.

"The president has continued to insist on a package skewed dramatically in favor of higher taxes that would destroy jobs. We've been reasonable and responsible. The president is the one who has never been able to get to 'yes.'"

Related Content

U.S. President Donald Trump receives a football from Russian President Vladimir Putin
July 20, 2018
Trump invites Putin to Washington despite U.S. uproar over Helsinki summit

By REUTERS