Negotiators are busy seeking a deal over the U.S. budget as the fiscal cliff inches closer and closer. Only two days remain to stop a package of spending cuts and tax hikes that neither the Democrats nor Republicans want. Both parties are seeking a deal in Washington, while the President will speak about the problems in front of a national audience.
Harry Reid the Majority Leader in the Senate and Senator Mitch McConnell the Republican leader will brief members of their respective parties behind closed doors on Sunday afternoon on the status of talks held over the weekend between their two staffs on an agreement to stave off the automatic spending cuts and tax increases that total $600 billion, which kick in automatically on January 1.
House Speaker and Ohio Republican John Boehner have called the House into session for Sunday afternoon for any possible action that might need to be taken to avert the fiscal cliff. The Senate will convene today as well.
Yesterday’s discreet negotiations capped a number of weeks of on and off talks amidst political posturing by both parties since President Obama was re-elected in early November.
Obama summoned leaders of Congress to meet with him December 28 and put the responsibility on McConnell and Reid to work out a deal. Obama said he was cautiously optimistic a deal would be made prior to the January 1 deadline.
With both Republicans and Democrats disagreeing about who should have an extension on tax cuts and whose should expire. Congress was ready to take the negotiating process right up to the 11th hour.
All day on Saturday Obama received updates on the negotiation process. The president will appear Sunday on Meet the Press on NBC. The interview was taped on Saturday and he continues to pressure lawmakers to come to a bipartisan agreement.