Baucus wary of ‘uncharted waters’ beyond the cliff
November 30th, 2012
07:54 PM ET
2 months ago

Baucus wary of ‘uncharted waters’ beyond the cliff

(CNN) - While there is currently no plan for Congressional leaders to meet with the president, according to an official familiar with the situation, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus said the two sides should get to work on the fiscal cliff negotiations-and soon, before the U.S. enters “uncharted waters.”

“I think that they should start negotiating right now,” Baucus said Friday on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”

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At issue is the fast-approaching, end-of-the-year deadline for Congress to find a deficit-reduction agreement, otherwise they face a large amount of tax hikes and spending cuts that could plunge the economy into a recession.

President Barack Obama met with Congressional leadership on November 16, but they have yet to schedule in-person meetings since. Obama has spoken with Boehner on the phone, though no progress appears to have been made.

In fact, Boehner declared Friday that deficit-reduction talks were at a "stalemate."

Republicans expressed anger over White House proposals laid out Thursday, which they said included unexpected measures, such as a doubled amount in revenue and $50 million in stimulus funds. Boehner blasted the offer on Friday, saying "it was not a serious proposal.”

“So right now we're almost nowhere,” he added.

Obama said Thursday he hopes to get a deal done by Christmas, but Baucus on Friday stressed that time was running out and the reality of surpassing the deadline is becoming very real.

“If there's no agreement whatsoever, if the other side is completely intransigent, then the president has no choice but to say, OK, we're going to go over the cliff,” he told CNN's Kate Bolduan.

Obviously, he added, his first preference is that “as we get closer to the cliff, we find an agreement and make some sense so we don’t have to go over it.”

“Because if we go over the cliff, then we're entering very uncharted waters. Who knows how the markets will react, what other positions people will take,” he said. “I hope we don't have to go over.”

– CNN’s Deirdre Walsh, Jessica Yellin and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.


Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • Max Baucus
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. anonymous

    this fiscal cliff nonsense has to end. we are talking about cuts to future proposed increases. will everyone stop the scare tactics? how about we actual address the bankruptcy of our country instead of trying to scare people into thinking cutting future proposed increases in military spending is going to send us into a recession.

    November 30, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  2. judy

    if we go over the cliff the republicans will be the cause. Tired of their phony posturing and indignation. You are all really bad actors and boehner is the worst. I keep expecting him to burst out in tears. Man up and get this done. Can't wait till midterms to get rid of all of you.

    November 30, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  3. fernace

    In many ways this standoff, 2 years old now, reminds me of an acrimonious divorce, where the 2 principals are too angry to think about what their unwillingness to compromise does to their offspring! In all fairness, as we the "offspring" have been made aware, the hold up is about the W taxcuts for the rich! The GOT-Party wont "give" unless Democrats put SS, Medicare & ACA on the choppingblock & I appreciate that Obama knows these are not negotiabale! Safetynet programs need to be streamlined & fraud needs to adressed, but how do you tell a 75 year old woman who has worked hard all her life, that her $800 SS check is going to be cut to $500, so we can balance the budget! That's unconscionable! It's easy to lose sight when you're dealing w/numbers! Lawmakers Have To realize that behind every number is a real live human being who's life is in their hands! The GOT-Party needs to give up the "lakehouse" for the good of the "children"! Before all of us have to live like a red state!!

    November 30, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  4. CBR

    If only his colleagues would listen to him. He is correct.

    November 30, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  5. DENNA

    “If there's no agreement whatsoever, if the other side is completely intransigent, then the president has no choice but to say, OK, we're going to go over the cliff,” he (Democratic Sen. Max Baucus ) told CNN's Kate Bolduan.
    ..................................................................................................................................................................................................
    If I were a Republicans, I would make sure this does not happen. The American public was not even close to kidding when they reelected President Obama. We knew that Mittens and his enablers would not fight for us; Boehner, Cantor, get it done and stop wasting time posturing.

    November 30, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  6. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    Many repubs voters are angry at dems voters because they blame them for spiraling welfare cost,violent crime, and chronic urban problems. And many working class dems are convinced that there is some sort of top 1% Conspiracy aimed at keeping them down. Well they are both equally wrong about each other.we need a deficit reduction plan. If the president and the house can not come up with a solution then i say lets all hold hands fall over.we either gonna win together or loose together......i just hope i dont loose my job because if i do i will longer post comments on cnn blogs. Sorry,i had a moment.

    November 30, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  7. TPharm

    Republicans, Call his bluff and let's go over the cliff. Obama wants power to increase debt ceiling without Congress' approval? They're having the same problem in Egypt. 3:1 tax increases on spending cuts should be reversed. this is NOT what Americans had in mind. Obama's arrogance is his Shakespearean "tragic flaw." it is going be his undoing, marks his legacy for the dumpster. Unless he can break out of his post election afterglow high and stop over playing his hand, he will fail miserably in dealing with our debt crisis and he will be unable to pin it on his predecessor. History will not be kind.

    December 1, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  8. J.V.Hodgson

    Great GOP reject the proposal from the other side and come up with nothing on thier side... because they still are trying to insist on gutting PPACA ( which saves nothing short term) and want less taxes than proposed.
    so yet again they walk away.
    Obama should get involved and say negotiate, or shut up. Dont negotiate with my parties proposals and the fiscal cliff becomes your GOP legacy... its too long since, ( budget Act) and an election dems won recently and it was clear the items AS President I would veto. Grow up and negotiate the doable children.
    P.S. The economy is not getting worse as GOP have said it would it keeps getting slowly and slowly better.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    December 1, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  9. Larry in Houston

    ""unchartered waters"" ? How about the 16 Trillion ? Wouldn't that "Qualify" as "un-chartered" territory ? We need something done in this country, if we are to survive financially. Too many Wars to begin with. Stop sending ANY money to other countries – until we fix our Own Problem(s). Secondly – Is it possible this country can take the "criminal element" out of the same stuff that Colorado is "Taxing" ? Pretty soon, they are going to be the only State that is in the black,(not red ink) if not already. 3rdly – How about some type of Nationwide Lottery, where the money goes into fixing the 16 Trillion problem ? ( instead of going to schools) ( The state Lotteries can handle giving to the school funds) I mean, there IS a lot of other options, but the "stalemate" in D.C. is just astonishing to me, to say the least.

    December 1, 2012 04:56 am at 4:56 am |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    That is just more misinformation from Democrats who simply seek power, power, power.

    December 1, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  11. Randy, San Francisco

    GOP/Tea Party politicians will be villified as villainous scrooges who stole Christmas if they let the country go over the fiscal cliff on behalf of millionaires/billionaires. GOP/Tea Party politicians would bring back abusive child labor practices described in Dicken's novels if they could get away with it.

    December 1, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |