Source: Reid looking for votes on fiscal cliff package
December 26th, 2012
02:22 PM ET
1 year ago

Source: Reid looking for votes on fiscal cliff package

Washington (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in conjunction with the White House, is working to see if the scaled back fiscal cliff package President Barack Obama laid out last week can get through Congress before December 31st.

Reid has made clear in private conversations he does not want to bring any bill to the Senate floor unless he is sure it will pass both the Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-held House.

His efforts were described to CNN by a senior Democratic source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations and the behind-the-scenes process.

"It is to nobody's advantage to have a failed Senate vote at this point. This will be the last train we will have, and there is no sense in it leaving the station before we have assurance it will get through," the source said.

The reason for this is both political and practical.

Reid realizes that in all likelihood, he will need a number of GOP senators to cross party lines. He knows it is unlikely many Republicans would take the big political risk of voting for any tax increases if the vote turns out to be meaningless and the measure goes nowhere. Those Republicans will need to be able to tell their constituents their vote was to successfully avert the fiscal cliff.

The other reason is a failed vote in the Senate, followed by going over the cliff, may send an even worse signal to financial markets than simply going over the cliff.

It is still an open question, however, whether the vote threshold in the Senate would be a majority, or whether it would be 60 votes. That will depend on what Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Reid work out.

As far as the House goes, Democrats believe if they can get a bill through the Senate, it is likely they can get it through the House with most Democrats voting yes and, Democrats hope, about 30 or so House Republicans crossing party lines.

House Republicans leaders held a conference call Wednesday afternoon and made no decisions about when to bring their members back to Washington, according to a Republican source on the call. The leaders on the call simply "touched gloves," the source said.

House GOP leaders had promised to give members 48 hours notice before calling them back from their holidays at home.

Democratic sources have told CNN the most likely way to get a scaled-back package successfully through the Senate, House, and to the White House is to wait until the last minute – December 30 or 31.

Why? Several Democratic sources say they think it's likely that Republicans won't feel enough pressure until the bitter end.

The scaled back measure being developed by Democrats would first and foremost keep tax rates at current levels on incomes under $250,000 and let taxes go up on income above that threshold.

It would also extend unemployment insurance and likely extend the alternative minimum tax fix. Other things that may part of the measure include the Medicare "doc fix" and extending the current, lower estate tax rate, as well as other tax extenders.

– CNN White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.


Filed under: Harry Reid • House • President Obama • Senate
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Name lynn

    ok harry reid if you the republicans democrates an president obama can come to agreement about the fiscal cliff please go ahead an get the job done

    December 26, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. California Gary

    I think he should press ahead with a bill whether the votes are there or not. Get them all on record with where they stand, so that if and when we go off the cliff, it will be obvious to one and all who pushed us off.

    December 26, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Larry

    Good luck to Mr. Reid's efforts. The fiscal cliff deal should have included a 15%tax hike on Millionaires and a 50% reduction in military spending – the republicans would have already voted to avoid it.

    December 26, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    I do not hold hopes of not going over the cliff. The sequestered cuts were what the HouseTea Party raucus had pushed for, instead of the grand bargain worked out between Pres. Obama and Spkr Boehner. They wanted certain spending cuts legislated into law, no matter what the cost to the country or damage to the economy.

    I have no doubt that going over the cliff has been the plan all along, just to enact draconian spending cuts. Draconian cuts were what was in the initial offer from Spkr Boehner. Once those cuts are enacted then any and all power to restore any of that spending must originate from the House. No doubt they will vote to restore defense spending and their tax benefits for their precious j"ob creators."

    December 26, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Kelby in Houston, TX

    They should be pushing that which was contained in President Obama's initial offer. It was (for lack of better words) fair and balanced. His plan had a decent cut in spending and a reasonable rise in taxes.
    the Republicans should have taken this offer when it was first presented instead of playing this silly little game of appearances

    December 26, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. J'cincinnati'Redd

    maybe it would be better to just go over the cliff,and wait till the new members come.the house speaker is powerless. untill republicans stand up and quit backing down to the tea party,2014 is going to be ugly. You have so many dems who just 5yr ago were republicans. I dont want taxes going up on anyone. But how can a group like the tea party say if you dont give that Person making million a year a tax break,then the family of four making 50k a year should have their taxes go up also? That makes no since.

    December 26, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Pappy

    Great blame everyone else, as ususal i really dont know which side is worse, Hows unemp in your state Harry ??
    if these idiots would figure out if they got the economy going everything else would fall into place, we might get ahead,

    December 26, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    California Gary

    I think he should press ahead with a bill whether the votes are there or not. Get them all on record with where they stand, so that if and when we go off the cliff, it will be obvious to one and all who pushed us off.
    ----------------
    I agree with the "show your love" strategy. Sen. Reid should re-introduce the bill where McConnell filibustered himself, but I don't think rules allow him to do so.

    Keep in mind, though, the Senate has already passed a bill protecting those under $250k, unemployment benefits, and other stuff. Boehner will not bring it to the floor of the House for a vote. Reid doesn't really need to bring anymore bills to the floor, but someone needs to remind The People what has already occurred, and who is really the party dragging their feet.

    December 26, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. ST

    Has now Harry Reid joined Boehner for jumping from Plan after the other? Leave it for Boehner. The house is full selfish people.

    December 26, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. J'cincinnati'Redd

    Im just sick and tierd of people with poor souls.a poor soul makes you start wars when we should of kept our nose out of other country business. A poor soul makes it ok to not find work and have children then leave them and their mother at the mercy of uncle sam begging for hand outs. It takes a poor soul to get angry at people who saved and invested thier money, got a good education. When you were trying to look rich buying that house the you could not afford and driving that big suv truck,buying two and three flat screen tv boxes,doing everything you could not to build wealth. Now some of you lazy good for nothing childish folks scream aloud "TAKE FROM THE RICH" I say go get a life. And if it were up to me, you would not get a dime.

    December 26, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. Ron

    Obama is desperate to give his corporate backers tax breaks that were promised in lieu of the millions they have donated to his reelection. The tax extenders mentioned in the last sentence says what this last effort is all about but what has become interesting is that the Republican Party has become less Corporate friendly while the Democrats are now doing there bidding.

    December 26, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. WillB

    Several Tea Party members in the House say they have made no effort to even find ways to return to Washington and if told to return tomorrow or the next day, probably can't get a flight reservation before January 3 due to the expect holiday travel and the bad weather. Obama could send jets to pick them up, but he knows that when they do get back, they'll vote "NO" anyway.

    December 26, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. J'cincinnati'Redd

    Working people do need a boost,and i respect them for getting up and going to work everyday. But if u make 25k a year and your wife makes even less,just have one child. You dont need 3 and 4 children because you can not afford them. Im fed up with paying for broke people kids.

    December 26, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Saul

    My congressman can spend the holidays at home as far as I'm concerned. I barely meet the Taxer and Chief's threshold as "rich" but I am willing to pay more. I am so tired of hearing him demonize us that its fine. I just want them to do it and lets get it over with. Whatever Harry Reid wants its not worth voting on. I'm up for paying more and hoping that applies for alot of others also. My wife died this year and I passed here full exclusion down the grandkids to avoid flushiong it down the government toilet.

    December 26, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    For the pass 4yrs. Mr. Reid has not done his job, he has refused to allow any of the bills passed by the house, because the Democrats didn't LIKE them, now he is trying to take the lead, Please Mr. Reid do you remember how to present a legislation so the members of the house and senate can debate it and vote on it. There are taxes already due to Obamacare hitting those who make $200 to @50,00 a year, so what is a few more taxes. How many in the Senate and House will it affect? I hope many!!!!

    December 26, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Does Mr. Reid remember how to present legislation? For years he refused to allow those passed through the House.

    December 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. J'cincinnati'Redd

    Im fed up with the leaders of the country making us the police of the world. Its time for us to make huge cuts. we dont have to keep building tanks and fighter jets when we have so many of them in stock. and its time to end welfare as we know it.bring back soup and bread lines. i dont say this to be mean,but its just to easy in this country to be a bum. soup and bread lines will help to force lazy folks to get a job.

    December 26, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    All this political Kabuki theater is going on because the GOP is held captive by Tea Party extremists. Time for responsible Republican politicians to stand up to Norquist and Tea Party bullies.

    December 26, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. J'cincinnati'Redd

    I say we need more Ron Paul's in this country.

    December 26, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  20. Will

    Harry Reid is the lowest life form in DC. The man is a pathetic leader, a pathological liar and has done nothing but pollute the atmosphere as speaker. He will be remembered as purposely unproductive and slimy as thats about it.

    December 26, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  21. J'cincinnati'Redd

    Its time fore a strong third party

    December 26, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. TJeff1776

    Harry Reid is a fine man. A hunble man. NOT a liar as conser try to depict him. BUT then, did they not depict Obama in the same light. For conser to name-call anyone should be worn as a merit badge.

    December 26, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |