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. Grumpy2012

    Negotiations by aides and even then, not face-to-face.
    And the country thinks we'll have a deal by Jan 1?

    December 29, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  2. are122

    I think the GOP and the Democrats are clueless. I can't imagine going to a meeting at work only to listen to everyone there bicker...and come up with no perspective solutions. Until the job situation is drastically improved noting will do much of anything. Like before (Carter), more and more will turn to government aid...and if working, working for cash whenever possible. The rich (if interested) will simply find ways to skirt the taxes.

    December 29, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  3. NB Gerry

    I don't give this much hope. These two behave like children on the Senate floor, I can't expect much better in a private negotiations.

    December 29, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  4. S Hills

    Nothing really good for the American public. The people who considered themselves 'minorities' who voted this election are going to be shocked at what's happening in their lives starting this new year. I wish it wasn't so. By-the-way, the 'minority' is the 'MAJORITY' in the U.S.A. "Tyranny is governing or controlling, that places own interests or interests of a few, over the best interests of the general population."

    December 29, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  5. Jason

    This is just the beginning. Next, the battle over the debt ceiling....after that default and a lower US credit rating...leading to a recession....ending in a depression.

    December 29, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    What will happen, is Reid will try to get the Republicans to to give up, and allow the Democrat socialists to have their way.

    That will NOT work, and nothing will happen.

    December 29, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  7. Eric

    Are you kidding me?!?? With the risk of not reaching a 'deal' great and down to the last few days these arrogant, self-rigthous senators can't actually meet and work on this themselves?? They leave their staff to do the work and they will meet if they feel it will add value...well, if the two of them don't add value and their staff can do all work then they should just just resign or better yet, be fired. Just a thought.

    December 29, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  8. JR

    How arrogant of our leaders who are supposed to be working on our behalf. Is their time so precious and valuable that they delegate negotiations to their "staff" so they can go about having the time off to do whatever they please. If these folks were really serious about doing what is good for the country and the citizenry, they would be in there fighting tooth and nail to get something accomplished! I am thoroughly disgusted with these willy nilly divas.

    December 29, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  9. Peg

    Wow! Capital Hill will be mostly empty this weekend? I work in a hospital & I wonder how someone would feel if we closed down when there was an emergency looming.....hmm

    December 29, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  10. Larry L

    The Republican idea of compromise is sacrifices for the poor, the elderly, and those in need of medical care – no sacrifice from the wealthy. It's that mindset that is driving the Republican Party towards total irrelevance.

    December 29, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  11. Dave

    Get it done and earn your inflated salaries for once. The other option is to give up your pay and all of your perks ( pensions, health insurances etc.) since you refuse to do your jobs and refund the money to tax payers to cover the burden on us for your incompentant behavior.

    December 29, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  12. server4

    Reid and McConnell lackies are doing the work... Why do we need Reid or McConnell...

    We are doomed as doomed could be.....

    December 29, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  13. tarura

    What will happen this week?

    Congressmen, Senators, SC Judges, VP and other politicians will get pay raises, all "strategically remaining UNDER $250k, thus avoiding the tax rate increase for "the rich". – how conveeeeenient !

    The increase of tax rate for the rich should have a break point of $150k, not $250k. That way all the above folks would have the opportunity to "contribute" into the country's revenue, as they call it.

    What would you think?

    December 29, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  14. Dale Zalewski

    It might be too much to hope for but the ideal solution would be one that gives each side enought of something (not 100%) and will pass each house unanimously if, for no other reason than it would leave Grover Norquist with nothing more than a stack of impotent papers.

    December 29, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. pmn

    This is ridiculous! The situation looks like two political parties taking stubborn stand of who will outdo who when really the result is a big fat ZERO. Neither party has done anything including Obama our President. And this is exactly the result I suspected out of this administration. Bipartisanship has gone right out of the door if it ever really existed esp with last 4 years. Congress and the President look like unintelligent buffons. My goodness a group of monkeys could come up with solutions. What it really comes down to is lack of caring about the United States of America and the American people. We will be right we started 4 years ago, now and in the future maybe worse.

    December 29, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. ceddie80

    Congress put in place this "fiscal cliff" to force themselves to act.. and they STILL can't get it done without procrastinating to the very last possible second. I don't care what people say, the dems, GOPs, and the president are ALL to blame because they all don't want to "compromise". It's like having toddlers in sandbox – learn to play with each other!

    December 29, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. buzz

    Let me know when the grownups get to the table.

    December 29, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. John Black Hills SD

    The parties involved have already agreed to present President Obama with a plan that gives the President most of what he believes will help our economy in both the short, and long term. The tension is being manipulated to highlight a point that some members of the House feel they must make. The House speaker knows the media will report everything he says, and doesn't say, just to make a point, and scare the hell out of a lot of Americans.

    December 29, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. BeverlyNC

    Republicans of this era do not compromise, filibuster every bill for our national recovery, try to take away our rights as workers, women and voters all the while screaming the word "freedom" when it comes to being able to posess a gun designed only for murder. This Republican Party cares nothing about the People they swore an oath to serve. They do not live by ANY "Christian" creed or values for their destructive plans all center on stomping om the poor, (the working poor who make a non-liveable minimum wage that Republicans even wanted to abolish), stomping on healthcare for all while they sit back and take their government "socialist" healthcare plan and lifetime pensions. You really think these Republicans are going to do anything to benefit the People? This is just a game to them – a game for Boehner to keep his Speakership which he is on the verge of losing to his backstabbing aide Eric Cantor, for Mitch McConnell who hates President Obama yand treasonously said as a Senate he would do everything he could to "destroy Obama". Republicans are the one who set up this fiscal cliff deadline for they would not compromise on the budget President Obama presented them 18 months ago and have not worked on for a minute since then. Now they are going to destroy the lives of the middle class again, take us into another recession, bring down the stock market, and have already said they are going to play blackmail with the debt ceiling again (last time their games brought down the US credit rating for the first time EVER and they are going for taking it down further – which increases our debt obligations for we then have to pay higher interest rates on the Bush debt). When 2014 comes around – remember who filibusterd 386 times jobs bills, infrastructure bills, veterans bills, housing help bills, tried to kill Medicare and Social Security, and tried to take away your rights as workers, women to make your own health decisions, access to contraception, and even your right to vote. These traitors of America need to be thrown out of office in disgrace. No More Republicans until they go find a soul, true values, and learn what it means to be a human being.

    December 29, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    We need to get a proposal on the table and have everyone vote so there is some accountability. Right now everyone can point their finger somewhere else. Proposal by proposal everyone not just the leaders need to be accountable for what they will not pass. We are letting everyone off the hook. If we have nothing monday, nobody is on the record. This is wrong.

    December 29, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. jd

    There is no exuces for this crap from the congress or senate. They have had more than enough time to resolve these issues. They should have been sequestered until a budget was finalized . Bipartisiansship does not exists. It;s apparent that Boehner is desperately trying to protect his position as Speaker and is nothing more than a puppet for Cantor. et al. He found out that turning on the waterworks doesn;t work and hasn;t the balls to stand up and lead his party.Hopefully the people of OHIO will realize what an incompetent bozo he is and vote him out.

    December 29, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  22. Malron

    The reason the esteemed Senators leave the negotiating to there Staffers is they have to spend there time calling there benefactors and contributors how they are not going to budge on there principle. These guys are in the pocket of the rich. Why do we elect these clowns . I live in Az. I can not believe some of the clowns we put in office.

    December 29, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. Ted Murphy

    A message to all of our elected politicians – President Obama, every representativee in the U.S. House of Representatives, every U.S. Senator. You have failed us. You have failed to do the job you were sent to Washington to do. You have failed to keep your oath to us – the American People. Your failure to reach compromise, your failure to take on the difficult choices and make timely decisions is threatening our livelihoods, threatening our prosperity, threatening our future. You should not be worried about your political futures, you should be focused on finding common ground and reaching compromise. It is too easy to dig in and refuse to budge. Be courageous – represent all of us, regardless of party affiliation, regardless of prospects of reelection. Do your jobs. Do your duty. We have to do our jobs every day. Our civilians must and do go to work to support their families. Our military members must and do their duty to protect our country. Our police and firefighters must and do protect us. Out teachers must and do educate our children. Our citizens do their jobs regardless of political party affiliation. You were elected to represent all of us. Do your jobs. Do not shirk your responsibilities any longer. Perhaps it is time for all of you to resign. Perhaps it is time for the American People to fire you because of your failures. Reach across the isle, find common ground, make the tough decision to agree. Lead, follow, or get out of the way!

    December 29, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. Tony

    What will happen, is Boehner will try to get the Democrats to to give up, and allow the Republican fascists to have their way.

    That will NOT work, and Republicans will cave, like they did in the first debt ceiling crisis, so that they can live to fight another day. The second debt ceiling crisis is only a couple of months away.

    December 29, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. MBW

    Republicans are obstructing a solution to the fiscal cliff because they are denying Democrats in the House a chance to vote on the already passed Senate bill. If the Senate bill were allowed to go to an up or down vote, there would probably be an end to the revenue portion of the fiscal cliff problem. The Senate bill has a mandate to be passed. This is what the majority of Americans want as a result of the recent elections. Republicans who deny the will of the people
    should not be representing them. It is time to initiate recall procedures to remove such Republicans. Start recall actions NOW !!!!!.

    December 29, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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