Washington (CNN) - Senate leaders indicated Sunday that talks to avert the fiscal cliff have come to gridlock, as the upper chamber convened for a special session in hopes of passing a deal by the end-of-the-year deadline.
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor he has placed a call to Vice President Joe Biden to see if "he could help jump-start negotiations on his side."
Sources confirmed that McConnell and Biden have spoken twice.
A Democratic source familiar with the talks told CNN lawmakers have hit a "major setback" in the negotiations because Republicans are now insisting that any fiscal cliff deal include "chained CPI," which Democrats consider a "poison pill." Chained CPI would change the way Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation, effectively meaning Social Security recipients would receive less money over the years.
READ MORE: Source: Fiscal cliff talks see major setback
McConnell said he submitted his latest proposal at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
"I'm interested in getting a result here," he said. "There's no single issue that remains an impossible sticking point. The sticking point appears to be willingness, an interest, or frankly the courage to close the deal. I want everyone to know I'm willing to get this done, but I need a dance partner."
Following his remarks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke on the floor, saying he and his staff haven't been able to come up with a counterproposal.
"I had a conversation with the president and at this stage we're not able to make a counteroffer," Reid said.
As for McConnell's comments about working with Biden, Reid said, "I wish them well."
The majority leader added he will continue to work on another offer and will be able to make a new pitch "perhaps as the day wears on."
"I will say this: I think that the Republican leader has shown absolute good faith," Reid said. "It's just that we're apart on some pretty big issues."
- CNN's Dana Bash, Jessica Yellin And Ashley Killough contributed to this report.
I think strongly this nation better get rid off this old Junk socalled Mitch McConnol etc., SS, Medicare are not free-they are paid by you and I. Idiots need to learn. Drivegop animals out in 2014.
Gee what a surprise. As if Republicans were ever going to come to any type of agreement.
There will be no "deal". There was never a chance for a deal. Republicans promised too many times they would not vote to "increase taxes". No matter what Democrats put on the table or do not put on the table means little. Two or three days after Jan 3rd, a bill will pass in both the House and the Senate that "lowers" the tax rate for 98% of citizens. Republicans can then go home and claim to constituents, "I said I would not vote to raise taxes ans I did not vote to raise them. I voted to lower them". The sad part of this is that many people will still support them. The good part is that most citizens will not. We clearly see this was all about the individual Republicans and Tea Partiers re-election bids and nothing to do with what is best for most citizens.
Shame on you GOP! Tell it like it is. Chained CPI means if grandma is eating tuna let her eat catfood! If she can't afford her meds and eat now well either let her have a stroke or starve. All this so a multi-millionare can buy another lexus! These people have no soul! I hope they are all voted out in 2014!
McConnell really is as stupid as he looks. He introduces a poison pill and wonders why it is rejected. Biden can't help him on that one.
It's easy, Mitch. Allow an up or down vote on the merits of the bill instead of playing the "cloture" game you have done for the past four years.
We never went into a recession under the Clinton tax rates, and going over the cliff will bring us there. We should go over the cliff. All of the economists are talking about theoretical things rather than using actual data. We wont go into a recession from going over the cliff, and it's just foolish to think that we will.
Can anyone explain why Mitch McConnell should get paid this month? Will that not be the wastage of money he is looking for to cut? Work done ZERO and he gets a pay check in return!!!
McConnell really is as stupid as he looks.
Yes he is. And very, very dangerous to America's financial well-being. From whom do you think the Tea Party got it's "clout", if not McConnell.
Please start a movement to vote every Senator and Representative out after one term!!!!!
Senator McConnell needs to lead instead of sitting on his hands as he has done for four years. What is it that he does not understand? His candidate is not in the WHite House but that does not mean he can refuse to do anything. He has not said or done anything to help to move any economic policies If the sides cannot come to an agreement then I suggest that he resign and allow another member of his Party to negotiate and lead. Good leaders know how to work across party lines to come up with an agreeable position. The Sen. is not dumb, he just refuses to do anything to help the President to succeed. THis is a very old strategy and one that should send him packing. He is causing major problems fromt he people he is sworn to representative.
I say, lock the whole congress in their respective chambers, bring in a few porta-potties, take away everyone's cellphones, and make them all stay until they get a solution for this done.
The GOP need to remember what the majority of Americans want (based on the election results and national polls), instead of holding up progress based on what their party position is. The DEMs need to make sure the package that comes to a vote is balanced 2:1 in its approach to cuts and revenue.
Oh, and the tea party nazis in the House should be tied to their desks and refused permission to use the porta-potties. Let them make a mess of their trousers instead messing up the country.
obama let the republicans an boehner go home stop making your hair gray an let the fiscal cliff begain because you be dumb like them if you let them
The GOP/Tea Party should be embarassed or ashamed of the show it is putting on. Reduce Social Security money for seniors on behalf of millionaires and billionaires? Are they for real? If this is rebranding for the GOP/Tea Party, they are in real trouble.
I could careless if your a republican or dem. Someone needs to step up and be accountable for the economic mess that we are in. The decisions that need to be made regarding all the issues that our government are trying to tackle should be made without bias and should be responsible. The only thing Obama has done since 08 is an extension of the inevitable. Extend tax cuts , ext unemployment benefits. This adm has done nothing but cover up a bleeding wound with more bandaids. Its embarrassing to even say I am an american. God Bless my children and grandchildren because they will be dealing with these careless decisions that our govt. makes. Shame on everyone involved in this process. These lawmakers hold so much power and are terribly overpaid. Congress and the Senate should be penalized for not being able to get things done on time, if they had to pay a fine for being late, their tight wads wouldn't allow for that they would have been done months ago.
Tell your kids not even to go to college because it is so expensive that their kids will be paying off their student loans well after they have died. Wake up, Stand Up and make responsible decisions, someone in Washington please save this country, we are in a sad state of affairs and I guarantee i will never see medicare and ss when i am able to retire!!!! But I worked and have paid way more than my fair share. Maybe China will fund it someday, or another country that the US has to borrow money from. The govt. should change the name of our country to the UNITED STATES OF TOTAL DISFUNCTION AND EMBARRASSMENT. I hope all our representatives and the POTUS have a rx for Ambien bc there is no way that they could get a wink of sleep without some help to fog all of the guilt weighing down their souls.
wiseup:McConnell mission is to make sure Obama is only a 2 term president. the way heworks is to make sure congress can't get any thing done If Mcconnell got paid for his performance he would owe the governmet money.The all time idiotic move of all time was when he fillibusted is own bill. That will be hard to top. hopefully he will be gone in 2014.
I say let's go over this "cliff". The so called "cliff" is not some natural disaster like Sandy – Republicans created it to blackmail the President in hopes of having Mitt-wit be the winner of the election...sorry, didn't happen. The military industry in the US is larger than most of the world's militaries, combined – it can't sustain a 10% cut? Too bad, pull everyone out of Germany as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. I'll take the new tax rate (and I assure you I don't make $250K). Let's end this game of "chicken" by saying to the Republicans, now and in November, 2014, "OK, this one you DID make. It's all yours. Enjoy."
Pass 250k, unemployment extention 4 6mo, and doc fix. Then work on rest when u get back. Or better yet, do the unheard of and STAY! Who says u hv 2 leave? U hvnt done anything for 4 yrs. U hv a lot of time and work 2 make up since yr only focus was trying 2 make obama look like a failure which u failed n doing! Famous words of ann romney 'IT'S OUR TURN!' now get it done.
@jim–I have been writing that this nation needs "Term-Limits" on congress/senate. Period. Ask to pass this with voter reform and anti-lobby law.
Anyone who introduces a "poison pill" into negotiations when they are moving forward does not want a compromise to be reached.n Way to go GOP – same ol same ol.
Somebody sit this mcconnell on the bridge he didn't want to fix in his home state and make sure he never leaves said bridge.
Republicans are now insisting that any fiscal cliff deal include "chained CPI," which Democrats consider a "poison pill." Chained CPI would change the way Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation, effectively meaning Social Security recipients would receive less money over the years.
Really, why would we want to destroy Social Security, when the Republicans can't be honest brokers on Taxes?
Anything to slow things down and to point to the Democrats as the problem with the this so called cliff. It would be nice to have someone on both sides that can be honest at what they want and what they can compromise on.
If I didn't get any work done for an entire month and sabotaged those actually trying to help the company.. i'd be FIRED.
These GOP guys want to cut wasteful spending, then why not start with their own salaries. At the moment, I do not believe what they make and the benefits they receive is worthy of the work they put in.
So who are the "Takers" now?
I get sick and tired of republicans trying to push up legisaltive negotiations up to the president ( McConnel to Biden) when that fails he'll want the president to say no then he can say we had a plan and the democrats rejected it Including the president and vice president He' s still playing the blame game ond they have made no meaningfuul concessions to get a deal as far as I can see.
The presidents up down vote bill is the only viable next step from Senator Reid. if that fails and i think it will because McConnel will revert to type and demand cloture Qed cannot go to the House
My god I cant wait to go over this fiscal cliff then something might actually get done.
Then i want re-call elections for every single senator and representative who voted down either obamas plan In the senate or boehners plan b. for reps.