Fiscal cliff talks: What will happen this weekend?
December 28th, 2012
09:13 PM ET
10 months 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. Gurgyl

    It should pass if not GOP gets blame.

    December 28, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  2. Mike

    what will happen this weekend? Obama definitely will compromise and they will have a compromised solution at the midnight hour- Just like they did last time... This is an overacted, media hyped and driven, soap opera... Obama already knows what he's going to do.

    December 28, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  3. Sheila

    in the photo, it looks like they absolutely would hate to look each other in the eye ! It looks like they will go out of their way to look the other way ! Well, I honestly don't blame Harry, because I couldn't stand to be close to the out of touch Mitch !!

    December 28, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  4. Gonzo

    Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama.....We deserve the sordid incompetence we have in Washington right now. We put these people there. I'm an independent, and there's no one in Washington right now that I can trust with leading this country out of this mess. And please, spare me the "it takes two to tango" that Obama lovers like to repeat like idiotic zombies; Reagan and Clinton had adversarial congresses and they got things done!

    December 28, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  5. blake

    Nothing will happen in Congress this weekend. Only high partisan rhetoric, political posturing, and blaming. The far left media will join in.

    December 28, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  6. Dr Bob

    Or... OR... they could try setting ideologies aside, and work together for a compromise under full public visibility.

    December 28, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    Since Speaker Boehner can't get Tea Party votes in his caucus, the country will go over the fiscal cliff. In early January, Speaker Boehner will depend on Democrats and what votes he can muster from his caucus to pass a compromise bill from the Senate.

    December 28, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  8. Kevin Quail

    Nothing will happen until January. Just like the Tarp bill back in 2008- it didn't pass and the market went down over 700 points in a day. They won't get it done because this Congress is the most incompetent group of ideologically driven morons ever elected. Harry Truman called Congress the "Do-Nothing Congress" when he was president and they passed about 900 bills. This one has passed less than 180. They still haven't passed a farm bill which was big news back when the drought was happening last summer. The stock market will tank in January when nothing gets done before the end of the year and then something will happen. Don't forget, these guys own stocks, bonds and real estate. Their investments will take it on the chin along with everyone elses. These people all need to be shown the door come 2014. It's a perfect example of why the country so desperately needs a legitimate third party, not a bunch of nutjobs like the Tea Party, who helped to elect idiots like Joe Walsh and Allan West.

    December 28, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  9. Ken

    I don't care if they raise the taxes or not, JUST DON'T TOUCH SS AND MEDICARE. And if the government borrowed money from SS and Medicare for use outside SS and medicare, PLEASE PAY IT BACK !!

    December 28, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  10. Jen

    Sounds like the resolution of the fiscal cliff is being left to people who were NOT elected by the citizens of this country. Why do we even pay senators and reps if they're going to let their minions make the decisions?

    Are our elected officials too intellectually challenged to meet and come to an agreement? Obviously, they need other people (staff) to come up with ideas which they then approve/disapprove. Is this whole mess (fiscal cliff) really the brain child of some unelected minion who sold the idea to his/her boss?

    December 28, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  11. floridasboy

    The tax hikes are a small drop in the bucket... if the progams, including especially military ones, become defunded then the layoffs will be massive and unemployment at 13%. Thanks Obama and friends.

    December 29, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  12. skippingdog57

    I'm still not clear on why it's in anyone's interest to avoid – at least briefly – going "off the cliff." Boehner would be reelected Speaker next Thursday, the President would get all of the tax increases he wants, and everyone would be able to support the fast-track legislation to restore current tax rates to those under $250k. That looks like a "win" for everyone involved, other than those making over $250k.

    December 29, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  13. Sam Crow

    Sure, leave it up to a few low lever staffers to come up with a compromise. Because issues that involve the fate of the country are beneath these two clowns to hammer out together. How many years have these bozos had to fix this problem? And when it comes down to the wire they have their "staffs" do the hard work. Disgraceful. Shame on you, Congress.

    December 29, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  14. nomad2003

    In this complete story, no a word on spending cuts... or how the AMT will effect millions of folks... and the death tax going to 55% makes it difficult to leave the family farm or business.... if it is worth 2 million, need 550,000 in cash...

    December 29, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  15. Anonymous1

    Just ... fix it please ...

    December 29, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  16. suebon

    Seriously, the Dems think it's up to the Repubs to make the first move? The Repubs have provided proposal after proposal. They've voted on them and sent them to the the Dems in the Senate. The Dems have simply said dead on arrival and thrown them away. I think it's about time for the Dems to make their first move. Raising taxes on some, whether it be those making $250,000 ir $400,000 or a million bucks a year while increasing spending isn't the answer.

    December 29, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  17. J.V.Hodgson

    Just look at the expressionns an postures they both clearly have no time whatsoever for each other.
    Reids left hand gesture would be regarded as rude in some parts of the world
    And Mcconnell trying to look intelligent and failing because of his disgust of the guy sitting next to him it shows!!
    And we think these guys can agree ANTYTHING??
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    December 29, 2012 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  18. CJ Topspin

    So...will I be able to get my refund before March or will the government be getting an extension on my forced interest free loan?

    December 29, 2012 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  19. larry5

    So, these guys get paid all year and only work the last 2 days?

    December 29, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  20. Please Grow Up

    When will the rest of the country realize the selfish, childish goals of the "Tea" party, and marginalize them into the fringes of the government they think is evil.

    December 29, 2012 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  21. MrRickinNH

    So.... instead of doing it themselves... they're going to have their people doing it... says alot about their abilities!

    December 29, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  22. JD

    Unreal! I'll be glad when election time 2014 gets here so we can fix the House!

    December 29, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  23. Mark in Phx

    Why bother with fiscal cliff talks??? These people don't even care enough about this country to sit down and talk and negotiate face to face. It almost makes one wonder what the big deal is if they can't get in a room and work this out. But then their incomes, pensions and medical care are just about guarenteed.

    December 29, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  24. hih

    What will happen is they will prevent the only meaningful legislation they have accomplished in decades be stopped.

    December 29, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  25. Chuckeroo

    Politics Politics Politics!!! They are doing this over the phone!! Oh that's right....... The week before the holidays is for chimney cleaning at the mansion, The week after Xmas is for servicing the Limo, so they can go out on New Years Eve. and the first week of the year is for restocking the mini bars!! So they will sit back in their big leather chairs with a drink and cuban cigar and do "We the Peoples" work with "We the Peoples" money, OVER THE PHONE !!! Every politician no matter what party should be ashamed. The fiscal cliff has a purpose.................let em fall!

    December 29, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
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