Fiscal cliff talks: What will happen this weekend?
December 28th, 2012
09:13 PM ET
1 year ago

Fiscal cliff talks: What will happen this weekend?

Washington (CNN) - Fiscal cliff negotiations between the staffs of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be led by David Krone, who is Reid's chief of staff, and Sharon Soderstrom, who is McConnell's.

Aides think these talks, which could start Friday night and carry on through Sunday, will be mostly done over the phone or via e-mail. There is a chance of some face-to-face meetings between Krone and Soderstrom if they think those would have value.

The meetings are not expected to directly involve Reid and McConnell and neither senator is expected to be in the Capitol on Saturday. That, of course, could change.

In fact, the Capitol is expected to be largely empty on Saturday, other than a few staffers involved in these talks.

In the talks, Democrats believe it's up to Republicans to make the "first move," essentially informing Democrats of how they need to change the president's most recent proposal to win enough GOP support to get it through the Senate (and House, presumably).

Democrats expect Republicans will want to raise the income threshold from $250,000 to $400,000. They also expect Republicans to push to keep estate taxes at lower levels. Democrats say they might be open to one of these changes but probably not both. They're not sure what other changes Republicans might suggest.
Republicans don't deny that this is the likely process.

Both sides say their goal is to reach an agreement by Sunday so they can present it to their respective caucuses in private meetings that afternoon. Neither side would predict when a vote might take place in the Senate, be it Sunday or later.

A GOP aide said that while House Speaker John Boehner's staff won't be directly part of the negotiations, they will be kept fully informed of moment-by-moment developments by McConnell's staff.

The White House will be kept informed by Reid's staff.


Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • Harry Reid • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Gregory Faith

    Great! Junior staffers are brokering a deal that will keep me in business! Ha! You know when Washington is seriously broken when staffers are the ones making or breaking the country! "Oh senator, we hashed out a deal that we think will make you look good to your country men! Happy New Year Senator!"

    December 29, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Name lynn

    the republicans and boehner is looking stupid cause their weekend is over and their new years may be doom because obama is the president and hes giving them all a chance to compromise and if nothing happen then obama bills passes

    December 29, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. Gregory Faith

    Fantastic that at least some one is working.

    December 29, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. last-minute-panick--"Leadership"

    The loving Couple...eyes full of passion about to declare "Lets go over the Cliff"

    December 29, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. david

    The meetings are not expected to directly involve Reid and McConnell and neither senator is expected to be in the Capitol on Saturday.
    Fiscal cliff negotiations between the staffs of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be led by David Krone, who is Reid's chief of staff, and Sharon Soderstrom, who is McConnell's.
    Aides think these talks, which could start Friday night and carry on through Sunday, will be mostly done over the phone or via e-mail. There is a chance of some face-to-face meetings between Krone and Soderstrom if they think those would have value.
    It sure looks like they are putting a lot of resources on these talks; 2 staffers and a couple of cell phones. Maybe they can’t afford any more.

    December 29, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. blake

    What will happen this weekend? Nothing but boatloads of rhetoric and political posturing. The White House and Congress are incapable of serving the public good.

    December 29, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. ug

    Nothing will happen...

    December 29, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. gmenfan54

    We voted this idiots in...time to vote them out!

    December 29, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Sorensen

    They should all get fired without pension. They are turning the US into a banana republic.
    Only the naive electorate always forgets.

    December 29, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Charles

    All right!!! Enough is Enough people!!! Time to get "V for Vendetta" up in this!!!! Everyone needs to get out of their comfort zone and take to action. Just where and when is the question I ask.

    December 29, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Andy S

    We will not have a deal until after the "Fiscal Cliff" so that Republicans can vote to "lower" taxes rather than increasing them prior to the Cliff. It is strictly spin, so they can appease the zealots in their party. That is the reason that Beahnor could not pass his own compromise, because House members need to be able to say they did not vote to increase taxes. I just hope that legislation is already drawn up to be introduced with the swearing in of the new congress.

    December 29, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Subramanian Venkatraman

    What a farce! The nation is waiting on the brink of disaster or say, at the edge of the cliff, for a momentous discussion between two leaders to discuss and come to a decision to avert national disaster and ruination of millions of families and the leaders are not even bothered to meet and talk, but have left it to their underlings! Shame on them and their party politics.

    December 29, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. Ricke1949

    Time to put the big boys in a room and start working this out. I did not vote for aides to do the negotiating. Perhaps none of these elected officials knows what is going on????

    December 29, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. JoebeatsNC

    Am I the only one who thinks $250k per couple is middle class? Is the American dream to go on the public dole, ignore your kids education, default on anything outstanding and collect a gov't stipend? For those of us "lucky" enough to wrestle with AMT, yup wife and I self paid education, are we to pay for even more? Hey, raise 4 kids, college, pay your bills and try to scrap away a few bucks for retirement. I don't get it! Where did working hard, education and educating kids become tatamont to a felony......??

    December 29, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. Trevor Bryant of Flagstaff, AZ

    Why is this even being debated? The fiscal cliff is exactly what we need. CBO estimates it will hurt the GDP by .5% growth out of a likely (dismal) 3.1% that was expected. But here is the upside: 1.2 to 1.8trillion more in taxes every year. Most of it coming from those making over 50k a year. ie those who can pay for it. Further, bottom tax rates are not so abusive that the poor can get away with paying nothing. Nearly everyone will have skin in the game again. Inheritance taxes kick back in, so the elite cannot simply pass their wealth to their kids without the kids ever having to earn it. Stock market can no longer be a haven for those avoiding taxes because taxes will go back up to levels comparable to income taxes. The AMT will eat those making 100k and over alive, and they will realize that 100k is a lot of money compared to the vast majority of americans making next to minimum wage. If all they can come up with is ore taxes for those making 400k or more, go for it. It won't stop taxes from going up to where they need to be, as in when we were solvent. Letting taxes return to normal levels cuts a little spending, taxes those who should be, pays for it with money from people who aught to be paying more, returns us to solvency. How is going over the cliff a bad thing again?

    December 29, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. Mike

    What a sad state of affairs we have got ourselves into, yes we, because no matter if you are a Republican, Democrat or other, the political motive always outweighs what’s best for our country. Time to pay the piper, we need to take care of this mess and not leave our legacy to the young people who had nothing to do with this. Maybe the fiscal cliff is better than the political solution in this case?

    December 29, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Sparky

    Food for thought –

    Members are free to turn down pay increase and some choose to do so, but not many.

    A cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase takes effect annually unless Congress votes to not accept it. – how backward is this? It should never be that automatic.

    Majority Party Leader – $193,400 (Will increase to $194,400 on March 27, 2013)
    Minority Party Leader – $193,400 (Will increase to $194,400 on March 27, 2013)

    The median personal wealth for members of Congress grew to $911,510 in 2009, up from $785,515 in 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Nearly half of the members of Congress are millionaires.

    Overall, members of Congress saw their personal wealth grow by more than 16 percent during the worst economic downturn in the United States since the Great Depression

    and yet, we keep complaining about them but send them back into office to waste another term and waste our money.

    December 29, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. NorCalMojo

    My prediction:

    They'll come to a dramatic last minute deal on the tax cuts and kick the can down the road again on spending cuts.

    They'll present the status quo to us as a victory for bipartisanship and both sides will keep their pork.

    December 29, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. South Bay

    Obama should have talked to Norquist because this is a Master of GOP party. The tax hike for the rich only works if he says "yes." Also, the tax cut equates to spending but GOP opposes more spending but not the tax cut.

    December 29, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Lee

    This is why, as active as I have been before, I've given up.

    December 29, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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