President Barack Obama and Congressional lawmakers will return to Washington on Thursday to give fiscal cliff negotiations one last try before the Dec. 31deadline. Too bad, then, that plenty of obstacles still stand in the way.
Neither the House, nor the Senate has even scheduled a bill for discussion. Unless Obama and lawmakers reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, a series of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes will kick in at midnight on Dec. 31.
The House has all but given up, the New York Times reports, after Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B," which would have raised taxes only on those earning a $1 million or more a year, failed to pass.
Boehner said the ball is now in the Senate's court, but that's not helping either. Democrats, who are crafting a plan to appeal to some Republicans, but they haven't been given any reassurances that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, won't block any plan that raises taxes.
Finally, there's the issue of time. If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, cannot get Republicans on board with his plan, he may have to jump through a series of hoops to simply bring it to a vote. By then, the NewYork Times reports, the 112th session of Congress could expire.
Via Reuters and the New York Times