Monday, December 31, 2012
President Obama "will deliver remarks about the fiscal cliff" at 1:30 p.m. ET, the White House says. We will update this post as he speaks. It isn't known whether he has an announcement to make or will use the event to press Congressional leaders to reach an agreement.
As we've been reporting, there are signs of progress in the talks -- which are now being led by Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The so-called fiscal cliff is the midnight arrival of automatic tax increases, automatic spending cuts and the end of some unemployment benefits (all deadlines put in place by lawmakers back in 2011 during previous deficit-reduction and debt-ceiling negotiations).
Here's one of our earlier updates:
11:30 a.m. ET. Outlines Of A Deal On Taxes?
"On taxes, one of the thorniest issues on the table, the two sides appeared to be converging. President Barack Obama has called for raising individual income-tax rates on family income above $250,000. In the latest round of Senate talks, Republicans proposed a $550,000 threshold, which Democrats moved to $450,000, according to Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.)."
"McConnell and Biden, who served in the Senate together for 23 years, are closing in on an agreement that would hike tax rates for families who earn more than $450,000, and individuals who make more than $400,000, according to sources familiar with talks. That would mark significant concessions for both men, particularly for McConnell. President Barack Obama campaigned on raising taxes for families who make more than $250,000, but McConnell has long been dead-set against any tax increases, warning they would jeopardize the economy."
As the Journal adds, though:
"Before noon on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said on the Senate floor that discussions continue, but he also warned 'we really are running out of time,' adding that 'There are a number of issues on which the two sides are still apart.' "
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit www.npr.org.