Senator Reid announced today that there isn't time to do the deal before New Year's Eve.
Mr. Reid offered his pessimistic assessment shortly before President Obama, cutting his vacation short, arrived back in Washington on Air Force One. White House officials said that before leaving Hawaii, Mr. Obama had spoken separately by phone with each of the four Congressional leaders about the status of negotiations, but they gave no details of the discussion.
On the Senate floor, Mr. Reid excoriated House Republicans for failing to consider a Senate-passed measure that would extend lower tax rates on household income up to $250,000. He urged House members, who remained away from Washington, to return to the Capitol to put together at least a modest deal to avoid the more than half-a-trillion dollars in automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to begin in January....NYT
The Republicans won't even lower tax rates for those who have been hardest hit by Bush crash and recession. The GOP, which has been sinking in the polls, has probably been expecting the Democrats to come up with a crazy compromise. Or just hopting. But the Democrats seem to be signalling that -- this time -- they won't rush forward to save the Republicans, won't pull GOP chestnuts out of the fire that was built by the GOP, and won't hesitate to tighten the vise on the already unpopular Congressional Republicans in the build-up to the 2014 election.
For their part, Republicans don't have a choice anymore. They really must wake up to reality.
House Republicans planned a midafternoon conference call among members to discuss, among other things, their possible return this weekend; members were told they would be given 48 hours’ notice before any impending return. Republican senators were also planning to convene at the Capitol — normally somnolent during Christmas week — to strategize.
A spokesman for Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, confirmed that he had spoken with the president, and said that Mr. McConnell was “happy to review what the president has in mind.” ...NYT
But there's no sign yet that they're willing to do the job they've been hired to do. They continue to hope Democrats will come up with a plan that will either save Republicans or that Republicans can use to diss the Dems. To complicate things further, the Senate is getting pretty angry at the House.
“We are here in Washington working,” Mr. Reid said, “while the members of the House of Representatives are out watching movies and watching their kids play soccer and basketball and doing all kinds of things. They should be here.”
Senators, frustrated, pessimistic and in some cases downright miserable, returned to Washington with no clear fiscal agenda. Senator Ben Nelson, a retiring Democrat of Nebraska, arrived shortly after midnight on Thursday on a flight that was delayed more than four hours. As he walked through the airport, he lamented the deteriorating political comity that he has observed during two terms in the Senate and two terms as a Democratic governor of a conservative state. ...NYT
The right is sick and has been all along. But they're very much like those sick people hold powerful, even illegal, weapons in their hands. And I think we've seen enough of that to know some serious counter-measures are needed before they do even more damage.