House Democrat says 'fiscal cliff' vote could go into 2013

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The failure of Democrats and Republicans to break the impasse over the "fiscal cliff" is raising the possibility of Congress going beyond the year-end deadline to complete the work necessary to avert steep tax hikes and budget cuts that experts fear could push the nation into another recession.

A top Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives said if the two sides agreed in principle on a deal but ran out of time to draft and pass the legislation implementing it, Congress could pass a temporary measure and work out the details in the following weeks.

Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking House Democrat, raised the overtime possibility in a Fox News interview Thursday, just before President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House and failed to break the impasse on the key tax issue holding up movement in the talks.

"We could pass a bill that says we put everything off for 15 days," Hoyer said, and then craft the legislation locking a deal in place.

The "everything" to which Hoyer referred includes income tax rate cuts and other tax provisions that expire on Dec. 31 as well as across-the-board spending reductions, the so-called "sequestration."

The tax rates, lowered temporarily during the administration of former President George W. Bush and extended in 2010, are the major sticking point. Republicans want them kept in place for all taxpayers while Democrats insist they be raised for high earners.

Asked by Fox's Neil Cavuto if failure to even agree in principle would prevent a temporary extension, Hoyer said, "If we don't get an agreement of any type, then, yes, I think you're going to run into a hard-and-fast deadline of December 31, when a lot of things expire."

Obama and Boehner met face to face for about 50 minutes at the White House following yet another day of finger-pointing between Republicans and Democrats.

Aides on both sides called the meeting "frank" and said the lines of communication remained open.

The meeting, also attended by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was announced after frustration broke out on both sides at a lack of progress and U.S. stocks turned negative due to fears the economy could dip into recession again if politicians fail to break the gridlock in Washington.

At a meeting earlier on Thursday, Obama's top economic adviser, Gene Sperling, delivered a downbeat message to Democratic senators about the status of the fiscal cliff talks.

A Democratic aide described the presentation as "bleak," saying Sperling told the senators that "we don't have anywhere to go until Republicans move on (income tax) rates."

Republicans offered similar gloom. "Based on the White House's current approach, it looks like we're in for a protracted conflict until the snow melts," Illinois Representative Peter Roskam said in an interview.

"They (the White House) are pushing us over the cliff," said Roskam, a member of Boehner's leadership team.

Little progress in the negotiations was expected on Friday with Boehner set to return to his congressional district in Ohio for the weekend.

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Richard Michalowski    
Oceanside, Ca  |  December, 14, 2012 at 12:44 PM

President Obama needs to bend. With Obamacare taxes kicking in and Prop 30 here is Ca, taxes are going to go even higher. He needs to lead and quit turning us against each other, rich, poor, black, white, red, whatever color we are all Americans. Our young people especially need jobs. We can do it with cut's in waste and spending. Have a Merry Christmas all and be happy, we have a lot to be thankful for.

Gregg Hartnett    
New York  |  December, 14, 2012 at 09:55 PM

Well said, Richard... I am puzzled why these two sides cannot both compromise a little bit and get this done. Perhaps with the deadline closing, we will begin to see this. I would love to see a mediator or some such person come in and arbitrate this thing... I never heard of politicians who do not know how to compromise. I was telling my 84-year-old dad the other night that Tip O'Neil and Ronald Reagan are having a good chuckle about this up in heaven... Merry Christmas to you as well.

Portland, Or  |  December, 14, 2012 at 10:27 PM

I disagree entirely with your assessment. This is and always will be about cutting Social Security and Medicare for Republicans and corporate blue dog Democratfors!! Obama would give Boehner pretty much all the cuts he's asking for if he had progressive democrat votes. Notice not even Obama care is not refered to as entitlements much less demanded it be unfunded! Here is the corporate Obama/Boehner plan. 1)Keep bush tax cuts if possible(these are federal income taxes) 2) Cut entitlements(this is Social Security &Medicare) 3) Why? Because SS&Medicare are funded by the FICA tax or payroll tax. 4)The middle class pays almost all of it since it's capped at approx 110k 5) Convince people there broke(never mind 2.7trillion in SS's trust fund) 6) Raise the age of eligibility so programs pay less to beneficiaries 7)This accomplishes two things at once for the robber baron 8) It Defaults on ever turn those bonds in SS's trust fund back into cash and it... 9) Continues to use surplus payroll taxes for general spending. Like huge military budgets and 10) Massive federal govt agencies that pass regs policies rules standards and codes that tweek the markets in favor of big corporations that lobby govt for them. The military becomes a instrument of globalization and the middle class gets to pay for it all. Use your payroll taxes for things they weren't intended for. Another words THE MIDDLE CLASS IS PAYING TO GIVE THERE JOBS AND RETIREMENTS AWAY. WOW!!!

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