Significant progress in Biden-McConnell negotiations
December 31st, 2012
10:14 AM ET
10 months ago

Significant progress in Biden-McConnell negotiations

Washington (CNN) – Fiscal cliff negotiations between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made significant progress and the two sides are now closer to a deal than they were Sunday, according to sources close to the process.

Thus far the potential agreement includes allowing top tax rates to return to Clinton-era levels, an extension of unemployment insurance and an agreement to increase the estate tax, though there would likely be a compromise to keep it from jumping to pre-bush policy levels, said a source familiar with the negotiations.

The emerging deal would set the top tax bracket at $450,000 for households and $400,000 for individuals.

According to another source, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid initially proposed a $450,000 income tax threshold to McConnell, a level from which Biden has not moved.

White House staff worked very late Sunday night and early Monday morning on the deal points between the parties, sources told CNN.

McConnell told reporters Monday he last spoke with Biden at 6:30 a.m. He also spoke with the vice president at 12:45 a.m. Monday morning.

Biden and McConnell have taken the lead in trying to reach a deal that could pass through both chambers of Congress and be signed by the president.

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. JD

    I would like to thank George bush. He clearly did a lot for the middle class.

    December 31, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    My fervent appeal on behalf of my fellow Middle Class Americans to Obama, "please do not cave in any negotiates that hurt either directly or indirectly hurt main-line middle class Americans". Enough hurt took place in two wars, trickle down and with the most idiotic second amendment of gun-laxity of laws–innocent kids demise.

    December 31, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Maybe this would all be easier to deal with if McConnell didn't always look like he was sucking lemons. On a more serious note, both sides have to use a word that has become anathema – Compromise. The Democrats have to recognize that programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid need to be modified in the way they are run in order to ensure their continuation. Republicans have to recognize that increases in revenue are needed to close a gap that they created by reducing those revenues and financing a war off the cuff for 7 years. They also need to recognize that if the DoD says they do not need a specific program, it should not be funded just to benefit the contributors in a specific district (or districts). The Pentagon wants weapons systems designed for the 21st century, not 20th century programs so obsolete that any third-world military can overcome them with equipment that WE provided them in the 70s and 80s.

    December 31, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  4. george woods

    keep it simple sirs, madams. do what is best for the American people and of course America. we are all apatriots right?

    December 31, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. Pable

    Further kicking the can so our kids will suffer. Obviously the folks posting and blaming here have not kids, are probably miserable middle age folks who live for now and could care less about the future generations. Extend the debt you say because its all about me. Lowers....

    December 31, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Evergreen

    Any agreement would still have to pass in the House. Will Bohener be able to deliver votes?

    December 31, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Wait for it... Here comes another Democratic cave in! To be followed by a Republican cry of angst and whine of "the Democrats never work with us (because we didn't dictate ALL the terms)"...

    December 31, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  8. Pable

    The WW2 generation was the greatest generation. This was followed by the WORST generations in american history (yeah, I am talking about you). Everyone wants to just kick the can on debt (Obviously that is will end up happening with negotiations)because you, as Americans, don't want to change your standard of living and wish to just dump this problem on future generations. Tell me, how on earth do we repay 17 trillion in debt??

    December 31, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. Dreamer96

    If it takes going over the Fiscal Slope for a few days, weeks to finally end the Bush tax cuts and turn back the Reagan policies of self destruction...so be it....I can not understand why the GOP love the memory of Reagan...Reagan planted the seeds for two wars against Iraq by sell Saddam those WMD's in the first place...Used the CIA to transport and sell illegal drugs right here in the US in Arkansas and used the CIA to protect the drug dealers from the FBI and local law enforcement....We need to return to a balance economy and Clinton raised taxes and created 22 million new jobs, more then Reagan ever did, and benefits lasted longer then under Reagan....

    December 31, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. sonny chapman

    King George II was right; Self-Govt. is folly.

    December 31, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. plain&simple

    So if Biden is seen as working this out at the last minute.....does that make him leading candidate for president next election? If republicans work with Biden have they shown their cards and want Biden over Clinton as an opponent? Maybe none of the above and everyone is putting the best interests of our country first? ....really doesn't matter ,just settle it for the long term and move on!

    December 31, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Silver

    I'm very disappointed at our nation's leaders.. Its obvious they are too far removed from reality to understand the impacts of the years of all this non action. This delay in reaching an agreement is just another poor example. They were elected to represent their respective voters.. Instead, they are representing their special interests.. Many act like spoiled children. Its time to grow up and represent the people they were elected to represent. Stop pointing fingers and get some work done.

    December 31, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Tom

    40 years ago I served in the Navy, returned home, often worked double shifts in a roofing factory to earn enough money to start college, worked full time and received my B.A. and Masters degrees. Then I dedicated my life to helping children learn as a teacher and elementary school administrator. I just retired and can ill afford to have my 24,000 yearly living expenses lowered by tax increases. I need every penny to survive! -- I must be stupid, because I thought congress was supposed to work for the American people. Congress has killed the American Dream.

    December 31, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. Ed

    Stay Strong Republicans. I'd rather go over the cliff than see tax rates increase for anyone with no comparable spending cuts included.

    December 31, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    It doesn't matter what Biden and McConnell agree to. The road block has always been Boehner' playhouse and the Tea Party Caucus.

    The Tea Party claims they will never raise taxes, but complain about the 47% who pay no taxes placing an unfair burden on the wealthy. The Tea Party complains, by name, about 3 or 4 multinational corporations that pay no income taxes, yet vigorously oppose rescinding federal subsidies for just the big oil companies. Can you hear the hypocrisies in their arguments? They want to raise taxes everyone else but just not in my backyard or on my friends.

    December 31, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Herb Kadane

    I nominate Bill Clinton to mediate this conflict. Bring 2 spokesman for each contributing body, White House, House of Representatives and the Senate. He makes the call after each body are given two hours to spew their rhetoric.
    Regards from a moderate Republican,

    December 31, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |