Talks between US congressional leaders to avoid the country going over the so called fiscal cliff are now in the final day, as the deadline at midnight tonight fast approaches.
If a solution cannot be found between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, then the January 1st implementation of steep tax rises and spending cuts could push the world’s largest economy back into recession.
Democrat Majority leader Harry Reid and his Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell have been looked in negotiations all weekend.
Senator Reid admitted that despite best efforts from both sides, negotiations were at a standstill.
“I think that the Republican leader has shown absolutely good faith, it’s just that we’re apart on some pretty big issues.”
These issues mainly revolve around taxes. Whilst the Democrats want to extend the Bush era tax-cuts to all except those who earn over $250,000, Republicans want the threshold to be higher at $400,000, and for revenue to come from further curbs in government spending.
If no agreement is reached on Monday, senators are expected to be given the chance to vote on a fallback plan proposed by Barack Obama. The President has continually blamed Republicans for the deadlock, saying that they prioritised tax breaks for the rich above all else.
“They [Republicans] say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way. But the way they’re behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected. That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme, and I think at some point what’s going to be important is that they listen to the American people.”
Senator McConnell stressed that political differences needed to be put aside, and that finding a solution was in the best interests of the nation.
“I think we all know we’re running out of time. This is far too much at stake for political gamesmanship. We need to protect the American families and businesses from this looming tax hike. Everyone agrees that that action is necessary.”
Senator McConnell has asked Vice-president Joe Biden to become involved in discussions in the hope that a last-minute deal can be reached.
Written and presented by Alfred Joyner