Why your lawmaker may not be at your holiday party
December 13th, 2012
01:40 PM ET
2 years ago

Why your lawmaker may not be at your holiday party

(CNN) - With President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner giving no signs that a solution to avert the so-called fiscal cliff is imminent, legislators are being warned to stick around Washington.

They may even be asked to do something drastic: work through the weekend.

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– Related: Obama, Boehner to meet at White House

"Members are advised that due to the ongoing negotiations regarding the fiscal cliff a weekend session is possible and therefore last votes for [next] week are not yet known," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Thursday.

Translation: a work week next week could bleed into the weekend before Christmas, a week after the date originally scheduled for final votes (this Friday).

The work which could prevent lawmakers from spending much time at home this month is the looming tax increases and spending cuts ahead in the new year, should Congress not approve an alternate deficit reduction plan. The cuts, known as the sequester, were designed by lawmakers and the White House as an incentive to reach a solution, but instead have led to a series of offers proposed and subsequently rejected by Obama and Boehner. Each has accused the other of not being serious in seeking a resolution.

Asked Thursday if he was optimistic about a deal to avert the cliff, Obama replied, "Still a work in progress."

He was walking to a holiday party near the White House shortly after Boehner spoke at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

"I've been pushing all year for us to address this problem, but here we are at the 11th hour and the president still isn't serious about dealing with this issue right here," he said, pointing at a chart designed to illustrate that the tax hike Obama supports is minor compared to projected spending increases over time. "It's this issue: spending."

The speaker will spend this weekend at home in Ohio, an aide told CNN, but did not rule out Boehner and Obama speaking this weekend, or even an early return to DC.

"There are cell phones and airports in Ohio," the aide said.

The two most recently spoke on Tuesday and met in person on Sunday.

Asked about hypothetical possible solutions, Boehner replied: "Ifs and ands and buts are like candy and nuts. If that were the case everyday would be Christmas.

"My goal is to get to an agreement with the president of the United States that addresses this problem."

– CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report


Filed under: Capitol Hill • Congress • House • John Boehner • President Obama
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Doug in NYC

    OMG Those poor poort congress people! Don't we, the American public, realize that they wook very long 120+ days a year, only get a few months of vacation time each year? What is wrong with us in demanding that these porr poor congress people work even harder??? Have pity for your poor poor, over worked and underpaid Congress person! Please lets give them at least one more weekend and month off!

    December 13, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. ST

    We do not want them even to participate to a single party. They have to work beyond New Year celebrations. Their approval ratings have been lagging far behind the whole year. If they will work for few days, that will be nice at least to compensate the days they got money without working at all.

    December 13, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    There are charts precisely like the one Boehner is pointing at in that photo which break down the factors contributing to the deficits. You can googlez them all over the intertubes. Guess which two "bands" in those charts are by far and away the thickest, showing that they are by far an away the largest contributing factors to the deficits. Guess.

    December 13, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. Roger

    The current Republicans in Congress will always be known as the worst ever. POTUS has been quite successful in spite of the obstructionistic practices, hatred against race, sex, gender, and religious bias and contracting against the economy and the sucess we could have had as a nation killed the Republican Party and it is gone.

    December 13, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Don't worry. Boehner will still be swilling the bourbon spiked egg nog (sans egg nog) throughout the holidays.

    And, in light of the House's schedule and level of work under his "leadership," I mean every single day of the year when I say "holiday."

    December 13, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. Thom's Thumb

    Because they have already committed to being with the lobbyist masters.

    December 13, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  7. Thomas

    The GOP had no problem with Vice President Dick Chaney's secret energy policy and closed door meetings .

    Why are they complaining now ?

    December 13, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. michael

    On Dec. 3, the Government Accountability Office released new estimates of the federal government’s long-term budget outlook. They show that our real long-term problem is quite different from the one constantly portrayed by congressional Republicans. As the table shows, spending is not out of control. Entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are rising gently as the baby-boom generation retires. All other spending, including that for the military and domestic discretionary programs, falls – with the notable exception of interest on the debt. Interest rises sharply as the deficit rises, principally because the G.A.O. assumes that revenue will not be permitted to rise above its historical average – as Republicans continually insist.

    December 13, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. ROBERT

    They have not worked all year long or I should say for the past 4 years, why should they even need a break. Any fool can see that is is going to take both increased income and reduced spending to accomplish what the republican adminstration caused to happen due to lack of concern for spending. Now all of a sudden it is the democrats spending that is the problem? The large majority of Americans spoke and wanted increased taxes on the upper 2% very clearly. Most of Americans approve of the Presidents approach to this problem. What is it that the republicans don't understand? They still want to and think that they can bully the rest of Americans to do it their way or else. Pleas Mr. President don't budge. It is time for someone with a concern for the majority of Americans to stand your ground and not let those that are only concerned about what is best for their pockets get their way. Like I said earlier, any fool can see but then again look who we are talking about. Even a fool is worth more that a selfish bigget.

    December 13, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. Anthony

    If spending is the problem, then name the specific items of spending that are causing the problem, Boehner. Please. If Republicans won't budge on raising taxes even though they lost the election, no one can force Obama to propose spending cuts when he won the election and is ahead in the polls. Propose the spending cuts yourself, Mr. Speaker.

    December 13, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. lynn

    If we go over the cliff, Congress has led the way. No bigger bunch of traitors, we vote them in, then they ignore why and remember only Norquist's pledge.

    December 13, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. Andrew

    Wow. Such dedication...

    December 13, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  13. Steven

    Boo-frickin-hoo. If you'd actually do your jobs when you were supposed to this wouldn't happen. Most of us learned that lesson early in life...I guess you thought you were "special".

    December 13, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Corporations of America

    Sniffit, I am going to guess the Bush tax cuts and the lossed jobs due to the recession.

    December 13, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. Larry L

    I'm a huge fan of a law that would stop (never to be returned) all pay and benefits to members of Congress and the President on the first day of each fiscal year if an approved Federal budget isn't in place. This law would make the "continuing resolution" concept illegal forcing the Congress to do their most basic job.

    December 13, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. Patty

    Geeze...about time they work...that's what they are paid for–and they are paid well with all of the lifetime perks they have. GET TO WORK...

    December 13, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Joseph

    Maybe Congress will even have to work on Christmas Day!

    Or even in session on New Year's Eve as Midnight (Eastern time) nears!

    I could see Ryan Seacrest's countdown in Times Square interrupted for a news bulletin from Diane Sawyer announcing that either the fiscal cliff has been avoided or not.

    December 13, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. Tommy G

    Whatever happened to "shared sacrifice" and "a balanced approach"???

    Shared sacrifice means everybody in the country should have to help pay to get the country on a financially sound footing. Taking every penny from the rich (Obama's dream) will not even fix the debt problem.

    A balanced approach means more spending cuts than tax increases. Democrats have run up $6 trilliion in debt in record time. They need to define what the heck they will cut. They have grown the federal government 16%, adding tens of thousands of new employees since Obama took office. All this while the country is going broke.

    December 13, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    I'm in favor of cutting their pay by 30% for good. They can still make a living off $119,000 a year aside from kick backs. They including the President should be ashamed of themselves!

    December 13, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. DP

    Congress is like Santa Claus. They only work 1 day a year!

    December 13, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. James Bond

    The reson congress wont do its job is simple, it is in direct contradiction to what their bosses are telling them, yet they act like he is fighting for us, the middle class, hand this guy his ars already

    December 13, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Sniffit, I am going to guess the Bush tax cuts and the lossed jobs due to the recession."

    We has a winner! Here you go: you win one internets. The wars are third and the stimulus/recovery efforts and TARP are just thin little lines. Google "chart of the day sources of deficit" if you'd like to see it hehe

    December 13, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. tom

    Imagine that the boys are actually going to do some work, isn't that why we pay you for?istead of your 3 martini lunch your going to show up for work Now if you actually do anything is another story Merry Christmas to all the middle class folks

    December 13, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. James Bond

    I am willing to pay my tax increase, middle class, and no, there will be no deal, as long as america thinks before it votes next time we wont have to be held hostage by our own politicians, pandering to their super pacs. vote out the republicans, they have been paid, and done absolutely nothing for four years, enough already, you wont comprimise, then go home and wait to be voted out

    December 13, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. rs

    It really is hard for the GOP- they've gotten soft from just saying "no" for 4 years and doing NOTHING for Americans. Now they should be faced with staying at work 24 x 7 until they produce a solution to the problem they made. No sympathies here.

    December 13, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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