Lawmakers to Hold Weekend Talks on Averting Budget Change
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said they’ll try to reach a deal by tomorrow, likely focusing on a relatively narrow range of issues rather than the full list of tax and spending changes. They face the same partisan mistrust and divides on fiscal policy that have prevented a budget deal for more than two years, compounded by the Dec. 31 deadline and the Jan. 3 start of the next Congress.
“The hour for immediate action is here,” President Barack Obama said yesterday at the White House, declaring himself “modestly optimistic” about a deal and complaining about Congress’s tendency to wait until the last minute to act. “The American people are not going to have any patience for a politically self-inflicted wound to our economy.”
Both sides are positioning themselves to embrace a bipartisan deal as a welcome and rare accord in a polarized government. They’re also trying to demonstrate willingness to compromise so they can blame the other party if talks collapse and the so-called fiscal cliff occurs.