(CNN) - Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer sounded optimistic Sunday about a fiscal cliff deal in the next two days and argued such last-minute efforts are standard in congressional talks.
"Well, there are certainly no breakthroughs yet between (Senate Minority Leader Mitch) McConnell and (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid, but there's a real possibility of a deal," the senator from New York said on ABC's "This Week."
(CNN) - Republican and Democratic lawmakers were split Sunday over the trajectory of last-minute efforts to avoid the fiscal cliff, a series of major tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in just after the start of the new year.
While President Barack Obama has called on the Senate to pass legislation that would extend tax cuts for middle-class Americans, Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said such action fails to solve the country's deficit problem.
Update 4:30 p.m. ET: Following increased pressure to pass farm legislation by the end of the year, Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Sunday that the House and Senate have developed a short-term farm bill extension to prevent dairy prices from soaring in the new year.
The bill "also prevents eventual damage to our entire agriculture economy," Stabenow, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a statement.
Rep. Frank Lucas, Stabenow's Republican counterpart in the House, said the extension would last one year, but GOP leadership aides tell CNN there has been no decision on whether to bring the stopgap measure for a vote by January 1.
(CNN) – While Congress faces escalating pressure to avoid the fiscal cliff, a key Cabinet member is issuing dire warnings for the economy if Washington fails to immediately act on other vital legislation waiting in the wings.
"It is unconscionable that we don't have a farm bill," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "This is just historic."
(CNN) - Republicans "have had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers," President Obama said in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" broadcast Sunday, discussing fiscal cliff talks.
If a broader deal on the fiscal cliff cannot be reached, then the Senate should vote on legislation to make sure middle-class taxes are not raised and that 2 million people don't lose unemployment benefits, he said.
The idea of maintaining tax cuts for 98% of Americans, as the president and Democrats support, was once part of "a pretty mainstream Republican agenda," Obama said. The fact that many Republicans are opposing raising taxes on the remaining 2% "is an indication of how far certain factions inside the Republican Party have gone," he added.
Washington (CNN) - Hillary Clinton hasn't even stepped down yet as secretary of state and there's already constant speculation as to whether she'll run again for the White House. While no decision from her on any future bid for president is expected in 2013, expect speculation about her future political plans to intensify throughout the New Year.
But if she eventually changes her mind and decides to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, a new national survey indicates that the vast majority of Democrats would consider backing her as their party's nominee.