Why your lawmaker may not be at your holiday party
December 13th, 2012
01:40 PM ET
5 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. Rudy NYC

    This picture is stereotypical of what Republicans do to make their straw man arguments. There's Mr. Boehner, standing in front of his over-sized (nothing wrong with over-sized) chart....which lacks number the first. There is not one ounce of truth, or fact, to back up Boehner's claim that "ONLY" spending is the problem. Republicans have been in denial of a revenue problem with their tax cuts since Cheney said, "Deficits don't matter."

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

    Honestly, I have zero sympathy. I regularly have to work through the weekends because I need to keep my job. I wish that I could afford to jump on a plane and zip home for a few days around the holidays, too and yet...no. I can't afford it, so I stay home. And, before anyone starts slinging accusations, I am a well-educated person who works two jobs, makes sure the kids have manners, I pay my taxes and I vote. GET TO WORK...

    December 13, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. Over the hill

    Did the writer already forget that the republican reps have already gone home? This is a stunt on the part of Boehner and Cantor to make it look like the repubs are going to dig in... just forgetting their members are already dug in at home.

    December 13, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "A socialist is disgusted by a big house and says "no one should live like that." A capitalist sees the same house and says, "everyone should be able to live like that.""

    Couple things:

    First, I spoke of "need" not "should" or "should not." I was not maknig a value judgment when I said "nobody needs." I was stating an objective fact.

    Second, a pragmatist looks at a house like that and the historical record that led to it and says "infeasible...time to start getting with reality." Would you like to share your plan for putting everyone in a house with 14 bathrooms with gold toilets when it requires thousands of people watching their incomes and assets redistributed upwards for just one person to live in one?

    December 13, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Larry in Houston

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

    that's why I dread going back to ohio – for Christmas, I will have to "pass" thru , his brother's sports bar area – I hope obama keeps his butt on capitol hill -Thru the holidays – til I get back to houston –

    December 13, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. kiwisepp

    let's go off the cliff. It is a package of revenue and cut.

    December 13, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. RapidOne

    More lies and some and mirrors from the Republicans to their idi0t constituency. Simply: spending cuts ARE on the table and HAVE BEEN specified by the president. Republican LIARS like Boener, much like how they've been over the last few years, just LIE and expect it to be believed by their followers who elect to stay ignorant. The bottom line is: let the top 2% tax bracket rates GO BACK to be before the Bush Tax Cuts and there's a deal. None of the other garbage they say matters, unless you are a partisan SLAVE.....

    December 13, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Margo

    What a pitiful bunch they are...if they show up or not they get paid, have all those life time perks and believe me they will let the fiscal cliff deadline go by and put the vote off until early next year. Guaranteed, they are a bunch of losers who do not listen to the people they are supposed to represent. Once in office they represent themselves, if I didn't show up for work, or showed up when it suited me I wouldn't have a job. Why should it be any different for them. It is a JOB, I think that got lost somehow or other in their brains. They are not role models standing on pedestals they are just regular human beings like the rest of us and somehow or other they let their ego get bigger than them. I say don't pay them and see how long it takes before they start showing up and paying attention.

    December 13, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. James Bond

    Repubs really think they can bully their way out of a mess they made, over we go, and nothing but finger pointing, tommy do you know what loopholes the repubs want to close, your morgage inrterest deduction, not jet fuel subsidies for mitt and donald, that sound good to you. if your not filthy rich, and vote republican, you are your own worst enemy. mine too

    December 13, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. local

    LMAO.........work.....I am sure they will get their FREE breakfast, lunch and dinner. They may also stop and get their FREE haircut. Lets not forget the FREE chaufer driven ride to and from their office. They are doing this all the while figuring on how they can keep their wealth and screw the middle class.

    December 13, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. James Bond

    Every penny from the rich, balanced approach, what the fuc are you smoking? how did the rich get that way, you and rick are in need of some serious enlightenment, easily done, use this computer your on, and look up the facts that are so easily eluding you. its there, just look it up. much appreciated. it will only hurt for a while, and you can still be as big a racist as you desire. just an informed one, still plenty to bit.ch about

    December 13, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. jpmichigan

    You have got this one wrong. The President and the Democrats think the can bully this one home. WHERE ARE THE SPENDING CUTS? Well one way to get it is to go over the cliff. Eventually Obama will ask for more so to continue to spend, and eventually every ones taxes will go up. So save the rhetoric and fall of the cliff, both side get what the want and as usual the American TAX payer pays for it. Every one can have a Merry Christmas (those on the Hill and Obama can jump of Diamond Head. I feel sorry for those on Staten Island who are still waiting for the red tape , that Obama stated he would cut, to be removed, so they can use the trailers for the Holidays..

    December 13, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. Joseph Brown

    And when words fail....they lie with pretty, annotated pictures....

    December 13, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    Nothing is going to happen.

    We ALL KNOW that Obama never, ever, compromises, so that effort, to hang around, is simply wasted.

    December 13, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. jpmichigan

    Jump off the cliff, stop the rhetoric, Eventually every one will get their taxes raised one way or another, it is just a matter of time. Then members on the Hill can go home and Obama can go to Hawawii..

    December 13, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. Barry

    "work all weekend"????...hahahahahahahaha ..Seriously? That statement doesn't ring true. Actually its funnier than a kick in the nuts!

    December 13, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. Brian

    I don't understand how people believe Republicans anymore. President ran on letting the tax breaks expire for the top percent, he won, said that is where you start, and Boehner keeps coming back with plans that make those tax increases permanent. What a fool.

    December 13, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. rad666

    Lawmakers may work all weekend -- They do not do anything all year and "may" have to work a weekend? Our poor elected officials.

    December 13, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. Boomer in Mo

    It's a right to work world. That means you work 24/7 sometimes if you want to keep your job. Congressmen are just getting a taste of what all of us peons in the workforce have been facing for five or six years. They need to toughen up and quit whining.

    December 13, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. RandyIA

    One thing I noticed that a lot of people are not mentioning. The president is currently asking to raise rates for the top 2%. I believe the protests and political statements made made earlier were for the top 1%, hence the "We are the 99%". My question is, how will you feel when that percentage includes you? The percentage can only grow, you can't tax the top enough to make a difference. Even if you take all of their income.

    December 13, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. PaGroceryBagger

    I've been working weekends for the last decade to make ends meet. Why is it news when Congress actually works 5 days in a row?

    December 13, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. buccakenji

    Repubs have created a mess ?? Obama has doubled the national debt in less than 3 years, has projected deficits of over $1 Trillion per year, drowned businesses in new regulations, and this is a problem the Republicans have created ??

    The difference between genius and stupidity, genius has its limits, stupidity doesn't.

    December 13, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Rob

    Congress may have to work through the weekend?!?! What is this country coming to when Congress actually is held accountable for the work it is supposed to be doing?

    December 13, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. john2397

    John Boehner and Obama will complete the financial packet by tomorrow. The silent features of the packet are: (i) Keep existing tax rates for income up to 500,000 (ii) All loop holes for corporations and individuals making more than 1 million will be slashed (iii) Defense will cut by $200 billion (iv) Medicare premium of individual making more than $150,000 will go up by $100 per month. (iv) Medicare age will be raised to 67 after year 2015 of people who are 60 years or less on Jan 2013 (v) Social Security, Medical, welfare, food stamps, mortgage interest, charitable deduction etc will be discussed by a joint committee next year and changes will be implemented in the year 2014. (vi) All corporations will have to pay minimum tax of 15% (vii) Deficit will be cut by at least $500 billion starting from year 2013. Looks like Tea-Party Congressmen will cry too loud, but there will not be any one to hear them. Some liberals will also make noise but Obama and Boehner will enjoy their lunch-dinners and GOLF.

    December 13, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Motown

    I don't feel a bit sorry for this bunch of clowns. We voted them into office for this very reason. If they don't work the rest of the year it is a crying shame. I've worked the last 86 days straight trying to make ends meet, and they can't work one? Our past great leaders would be ashamed. That's why we are in this position to start with, no one will WORK.

    December 13, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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