Congressional leaders speak after White House fiscal cliff meeting
December 28th, 2012
05:34 PM ET
1 year ago

Congressional leaders speak after White House fiscal cliff meeting

Washington (CNN) - Congressional leaders spoke Friday after meeting about the fiscal cliff with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Congressional leaders attending the meeting was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Vice President Joe Biden was to be in attendance, the White House said, and an administration official said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would attend as well.

Obama made a statement shortly before 6 p.m.

McConnell and Reid spoke on the Senate floor.

Reid said, “we had a constructive meeting. We certainly hope that something positive will come from that. The Republican leader and I and our staffs are working and we’ll see what we can come up with. We shouldn't take a long time to do that. …

“If we come up with something, it’s not that easy. We’re dealing with big numbers and some of the stuff that we do is somewhat complicated. But I think it was a very positive meeting,” he said. “There was not a lot of hilarity in the meeting, everyone knows how important it is. It was a very serious meeting and it took an extended period of time as you all know waiting for us.”

McConnell spoke immediately after Reid, saying, “I share the view of the majority leader. We had a good meeting down at the White House.

“We are engaged in discussions, the majority leader and myself and the White House, in the hopes that we can come forward as early as Sunday and have a recommendation that I can make to my conference and the majority leader [Reid] can make to his conference and so we’ll be working hard to try and see if we can get there in the next 24 hours,” he said. “And so I’m hopeful and optimistic.”

Boehner’s office issued a statement which said he “reminded the group that the House has already acted to avert the entire fiscal cliff and is awaiting Senate action.”

“The leaders spent the majority of the meeting discussing potential options and components for a plan that could pass both chambers of Congress,” the statement read. “The speaker told the president that if the Senate amends the House-passed legislation and sends back a plan, the House will consider it – either by accepting or amending. The group agreed that the next step should be the Senate taking bipartisan action.”

In a paper statement, McConnell’s office also pointed to legislation which had passed the House.

“While the House already passed legislation in August to prevent tax hikes (a proposal Sen. McConnell supports), the President and Congressional leaders today agreed that the Senate must now act,” the statement read. “This will require a bipartisan approach. Members of the Senate will continue to work toward producing a bipartisan package in a timely manner to protect American taxpayers and jobs from a massive tax hike in January.”

Pelosi said the meeting was "constructive" and "candid."


Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • Harry Reid • John Boehner • Mitch McConnell • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Who Said That

    The clowns just can't get their act together.

    December 28, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. Sonny Quintana

    First and foremost why is he saying that there was a lot of hilarity as if they were in there laughing and having a ball.....This is a serious matter to the working class. Yet our fearless leaders are not to concerned with the rest of us by contradicting themselves by saying there was a lot of hilarity then saying it was very serious.....They are only human and they same way people talk about each other in the workplace I'm sure they to do the same thing about the working class of America!

    December 28, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  3. Yeoomala

    Let's have a lot more action and a lot less talking.

    December 28, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. Richard Miller

    What a joke! The do nothings leading the dumb.

    December 28, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. Eric21

    The problem is it's obamas way or the highway
    CUT SPENDING while increasing some revenue
    .. I just read he is raising government pay scales as of March 1st I guess there is no fiscal cliff in Washington......

    December 28, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  6. J G

    Ugh. With Reid and Pelosi both involved, we're in trouble. Never have two more worthless folks served in Congress.

    December 28, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. Paul

    I seriously hope these people don't expect to be treated as heroes if they do resolve the cliff. These are the same people that created the problem in the first place and their stubbornness on both sides has caused it to reach crisis proportions. If they had been actually working together all along and not playing party politics we could have had a deal many months ago.

    December 28, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  8. Derek

    There seems to be a disconnect with the whole negotiating process... The democrats went up to 400K, the Repubs tried to get to 1 million... So if this is the trend, why don't the Dem's offer 600K, the Repubs 800K, then both can meet at 700k... I mean wouldn't that at least be something?

    December 28, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. Carl

    They will do nothing until the next session to let them say we lowered taxes not raised them. They should have their pay cut in half until they can DO THE NATION"S WORK.

    December 28, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  10. Bob G

    The do nothings for four years are continuing their lack of action. What has this congress done for us. They sure have filled their pockets but don't care about the constiuents who voted them in office. How do you believe they can fix this problems when the country has not had a budget for four years.

    December 28, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. Jaws3119

    Mr. Miller, you got it all wrong, it's the dumb leading the do nothings!

    December 28, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  12. manfromv

    If they are serious about a solution, starting Saturday morning 9 am, all five of them (4 Congress leaders and the President) should be locked up in a room and they should be allowed to leave until a deal is found and signed by the President. Only aids should be allowed in for consultations. Food and drinks should be provided. We have three full days until new year.

    If they do not do that, I have no faith there will be a solution.

    December 28, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  13. George Miller

    We need to look at who elected these bozos...

    December 28, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  14. giggles

    Obama wants a blank check to do whatever he wants – he's completely non-compromising for a very simple reason... Obama would like nothing more than to plunge the USA into deeper problems just to 'blame' republicans.

    Obama is all politics and all the people who voted for him will peer in their already empty wallets...

    December 28, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  15. An Observer

    republicans need to get their act together and quit acting like a bunch of spoiled brats!

    December 28, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  16. Wallaceboy

    These guys are a joke. If they were running a business they would be gone. Only the American voter will keep people in place that can not make things happen. More important, make quality, long term, well though out, objective decisions – not political ones. No leadership from Obama – but then what do you expect from a community organizer with no resume. Sad that a country once full of leaders has only self serving.........What ever happened to the "term limits" guys? Come back – we need you.......

    December 28, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  17. Larry Wagner

    The American people need to replace this useless bunch. If you are a Democrat and like being one then please replace your elected person with a different Democrat and if you are a Republican and like being one then please replace your elected person with another Republican. We need to remind these fools that they work for us. We also need term limits.

    December 28, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  18. cchandh

    Its unfortunate that our elected representatives are trying to solve a problem with the same mindset that caused it. Ask ANY small business owner if deficit spending is a good financial decision and, when they're done laughing, they'll tell you you're crazy.

    December 28, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Phyllis Turner

    Come on guys. Get your act together...leave the politics behind and sacrifice for YOUR country...If not, then u should not be a representative of the people.Too many men and women have died to keep the country free, and all u can do is talk politics

    December 28, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. russell bonneau

    let's see if the republicans can finally do whats best for the country and not linquist and his rediculous agreement. europian rich pay so much more.

    December 28, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  21. Ron

    What a dumb comment!! ( WE HAD A GOOD MEETING) They are stalling until the last minute, then they will force the president to sign thier terms if he wants a bill to pass, The repubs are not going to sign any bill that makes thier boss's have to pay more tax's. Since they don't care about the American people, they don't care if we go over the cliff and tax's go up.

    December 28, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  22. lensmith

    Please President Obama don't give in to any of the Republicans demands, because they just don't have the interest of the country in hand. They are out for divided this country as best they can.

    December 28, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  23. GloSeattle

    They've had a committee in place for a year now to avoid this procrastination with our wallets, business, and other budgetary needs. I don't know why everything these representatives do has to be grand standed. It's bordering on a dramatic production made in Hollywood, well with one exception. The entertainment industry works tirelessly to make it all look easy. Politicians rarely work and continue to say how hard or difficult it is. As for us taxpayers – their employers – all we do is work to pay for their benefits and salary while they play Russian Roulette with us. Sorry, but I'd like to boot out the whole bunch of them, Republicans and Democrats alike. If I worked for my boss they way they work for me I'd of been fired. They are appalling, disgusting, and un-American.

    December 28, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  24. Ricky Reed

    Incompetent isn't the word for it. Stupidity is more like it. They spend a little over an hour talking, and they act as if they were serious? These clowns have had more than a year to do something, and here they are like a fifth grader who has had six weeks to do a project, and is trying to throw it together the night before it's due. We are long overdue term limits, and it's time these do-nothings give up their "powerful seats" and retire. Lastly, the question was asked in another article "Should the President get involved?" Uh, no, he should return to Hawaii for a much needed vacation so he can come back in January and start campaining again. Will it ever change??

    December 28, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  25. noteasilyswayed

    Notice that Boehner stuck to his old line of "the House has already acted and blah, blah, blah". Herein lies the problem, because he cannot control or direct the members of the House. Whatever the Senate produces, Boehner has to let it come up for a vote, and there's no telling what the Republicans in the House will do. IMHO, we can count on the Tea Party to vote no for whatever is proposed..... let's hope that the Democrats and enough moderate Republicans use common sense this time.

    December 28, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
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