Wall Street Journal (12/28/12)
The Obama administration and Congress took small steps toward breaking the budget impasse Thursday, but all sides grew increasingly concerned that they will not be able to avert the tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. President Obama invited congressional leaders to the White House on Friday afternoon for a last-ditch effort to broker a deal, as the Senate returned to Washington on Thursday. House Republican leaders reported that the House will reconvene Sunday evening.
Any resolution at this point would be a scaled-back version of the package Obama and congressional leaders had anticipated passing after the November election. The White House is pressing for the Senate to extend current tax rates for income up to $250,000, extend unemployment benefits, keep the alternative minimum tax from hitting millions of additional taxpayers, and delay spending cuts set to take effect in January. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says the prospects for passage of a bill before the last day of the year are fading rapidly. “I have to be very honest,” he says. “I don’t know time-wise how it can happen now.”