Lawmakers struggle to produce fiscal deal as ball drop set to ring in tax hikes
Lawmakers were racing Monday to produce at least the framework for a deal that can avert the imminent fiscal crisis, as it appeared increasingly likely that the New Year’s Eve ball drop will coincide with massive tax hikes and spending cuts.
A last-ditch effort over the weekend by the Senate so far has failed to produce an agreement, bringing talks — as they often are in Congress — right down to the deadline.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday afternoon that “there’s still significant distance between the two sides.” His Republican counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell, continued talks on the sidelines with Vice President Biden well into the night, according to an aide.
While Biden was brought in Sunday to help referee, it’s unclear whether the three figures might be able to produce a proposal at a reasonable hour Monday. President Obama has already made clear he will press Reid to call a vote on a separate White House plan if nothing is produced.