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President Barack Obama will meet with leaders of Congress today at the White House for a last-ditch effort to forge a deal ahead of the “Fiscal Cliff” that will take effect on January 1, 2013. Tax increases and massive Defense Cuts will take effect if not deal is reached before the deadline Congress imposed on itself more than a year ago:

NEW YORK TIMES: President Obama will meet with Congressional leaders on Friday, and House Republicans summoned lawmakers back for a Sunday session, in a last-ditch effort to avert a fiscal crisis brought on by automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to hit next week.

Republicans expressed a flicker of hope Thursday that a deal could still be reached to at least avert most of the tax increases on Jan. 1, to prevent a sudden cut in payments to medical providers treating Medicare patients and to extend expiring unemployment benefits. But both parties’ leaders said time is running out.

“Here we are, five days from the New Year, and we might finally start talking,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader.

The overriding emotion Thursday, as senators convened for a rare session between Christmas and New Year’s Day, appeared to be embarrassment. The continuing impasse “demonstrates a tremendous lack of courage here in Washington to address the issues that need to be addressed — at every level,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee. . . . Read More

Obama to Meet Today with Leaders of Congress at the White House on “Fiscal Cliff” – 12/28/12

President Barack Obama and family jetted off to Hawaii tonight for their lavish Christmas Vacation. Obama leaves behind the “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations, just 10 days from the new year and the implementation of tax hikes on everyone and massive cuts to America’s National Defense.

President Obama and Family Depart for Christmas in Hawaii – Raw Video 12/21/12

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote today on Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B,” which would extend current tax rates for most Americans, but would raise tax rates on people earning over $1 Million. Boehner’s decision to cave on raising tax rates is not setting well with a lot of Republicans, who know this will only further depress business activity:

CNN: The House is set to vote Thursday on Plan B, a GOP version of an agreement on the fiscal cliff, and another measure designed to lure support for the plan from hard-line Republicans.

The White House threatened Wednesday to veto that plan, saying it would bring only “minimal” changes in projected budget deficits.

Lawmakers face a deadline to avoid falling off what’s being called the fiscal cliff — the specter of huge tax increases and deep spending cuts set to kick in in January if no budget agreement is reached by December 31.

The negotiations had focused on a $2 trillion package of new revenue, spending cuts and entitlement changes the two sides have shaped into a broad deficit reduction plan. The stakes are high as economists say that failure to reach an agreement could spark another recession.

House Speaker John Boehner has proposed Plan B, which would extend Bush-era tax cuts on income of up to $1 million. He described it as a fallback option to prevent a sweeping tax hike while negotiations continue on a broader plan.

GOP leaders also had planned to vote Thursday on President Barack Obama’s long-standing proposal to return to the higher tax rates of the 1990s on income above $250,000 for families.

But Republicans decided to drop their plan to vote on extending tax breaks on incomes over $250,000. One GOP aide said that since the president has moved the threshold to $400,000, there is no point to that exercise.

Because they are having trouble securing votes from conservatives for Boehner’s Plan B, GOP leaders have added a vote Thursday on a measure that would replace automatic spending cuts to defense with cuts elsewhere. . . . Read More

U.S. House Likely to Vote on Boehner’s “Plan B” Today; Would Cave on Raising Tax Rates for People making over $1 Million

Here is video of House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor holding a Press Conference today about the “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations. Boehner said Obama is still dithering about whether to accept spending cuts as part of the plan. Therefore, Boehner said Republicans are going to offer “Plan B” that would go ahead and extend tax cuts on people making $200,000 or less, or couples making $250,000 or less, and would add tax hikes on people making over $1 million. The House may pass this as part of a bill on Thursday and send it to the Senate. This is what Boehner has essentially offered to Obama as part of a deal, and to put pressure on him, Boehner appears ready to pass this out of the House to demonstrate Republicans will not be to blame if no broader deal is agreed to.

House Speaker John Boehner Says GOP Ready to Move “Plan B” in the House on “Fiscal Cliff”; Would Extend Middle Class Tax Cuts, Put Pressure on Obama – Video 12/18/12

The New York Times is reporting that House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama are ‘close” to agreement on a deal to avoid going over the so-called “Fiscal Cliff.” The deal apparently involves a tax rate increase on Americans making $400,000 or more with some spending cuts over the next ten years. That’s right – ten years. While some kind of deal may be reached that many in Washington will hail as an accomplishment, the reality is that they are not even scratching the surface of dealing with the massive $16 Trillion National Debt or the more than $1 Trillion annual budget deficit. The deal would not seriously tackle the real driver of deficit spending – entitlements:

NEW YORK TIMES: President Obama delivered to Speaker John A. Boehner a new offer on Monday to resolve the pending fiscal crisis, a deal that would raise revenues by $1.2 trillion over the next decade but keep in place the Bush-era tax rates for any household with earnings below $400,000.

The offer is close to a plan proposed by the speaker on Friday, and both sides expressed confidence that they were closing in on a major deficit-reduction plan that could be passed well before January, when more than a half-trillion dollars in automatic tax increases and spending cuts would kick in.

Senior Republican aides said the speaker was to meet with House Republicans on Tuesday morning to discuss the state of negotiations. But they cautioned that obstacles remained.

“Any movement away from the unrealistic offers the president has made previously is a step in the right direction,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner. “We hope to continue discussions with the president so we can reach an agreement that is truly balanced and begins to solve our spending problem.”

The two sides are now dickering over price, not philosophical differences, and the numbers are very close. . . . Read More

Report: Boehner, Obama Close to “Fiscal Cliff” Deal that would Raise Tax Rates on Americans Earning more than $400,000; Despite $16 Trillion Debt, “Deal” would only raise $1.2 Trillion in Revenue over 10 Years – 12/18/12

It just leaves you speechless to listen to this.

GOP Sen. Tom Coburn very bluntly said yesterday on “This Week” that Barack Obama’s desire to raise tax rates will only bring in enough revenue to deal with “7%” of the nation’s debt problem. To deal with the other 93% will require a willingness to reform Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Listen to the Democrats on the panel talking like they live in fantasy land – a land where entitlements have nothing to do with the problem and tax increases will solve every problem.

Sen. Tom Coburn: Obama and the Democrats are Ignoring “93%” of America’s Fiscal Problem – Video 12/9/12

It’s growing – the number of Republicans ready to cave-in to Barack Obama on raising tax rates. Here is Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker explaining why he is ready to do so. But these Republicans know in their hearts it is not the best thing for the country. The tax increase won’t even put a dent in the nation’s debt problem. They know it. Massive entitlement spending is the problem, and no one wants to face up to it.

Sen. Bob Corker Joins Ranks of Republicans Willing to Support Tax Rate Increases – Video 12/9/12

More from the New York Times’ Helene Cooper yesterday on “Meet the Press.” Not only did she say the Obama White House is “cockier” than they were last year, feeling like they don’t have to really negotiate with the GOP on the “Fiscal Cliff,” but here she says though Obama may think he won’t have to “own” the recession that will follow if the nation goes over the cliff, “He would have to own it.”

NY Times’ Helene Cooper: If Nation Goes over the “Fiscal Cliff,” despite thinking He won’t have to, Obama “would have to Own It” – Video 12/9/12

Here is video of the New York Times’ Helene Cooper yesterday on “Meet the Press” where she said there is a “palpable” atmosphere of cockiness at the Obama White House these days about the “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations. She said Obama and his people have the attitude that they don’t have to negotiate, but can sit back and demand that others meet their demands – unlike their attitude in 2011.

I think we already knew this about them, but Cooper confirms it here. Therein lies the reason why they made the laughable proposal they did for big tax increases and virtually no spending cuts, along with a demand for Obama to get unlimited power to arbitrarily raise the debt-ceiling as much and as often as he desires.

Cooper also said, in the end, if the nation goes over the “Fiscal Cliff,” it is Obama who “would have to own it.”

NY Times Reporter on “Meet the Press”: There is a “Palpable” Sense of Cockiness at the Obama White House these Days – Video 12/9/12

Here is video of House Speaker John Boehner today briefing reporters and telling them “this is not a progress report (on the Fiscal Cliff negotiations) because there is no progress to report.”

Boehner blasted President Obama for his obsession with raising taxes, which he said will only make the economy worse for small business owners. Boehner pointed out Republicans have put revenue on the table through cutting deductions and closing loopholes, but that Obama has been unwilling to take any steps in their direction.

Speaker Boehner pointed out the reality that even if Obama got all the tax rate increases he wants it will not even put a dent in the nations deficit. But Obama and the Democrats have no interest in dealing with the real problem – runaway Government spending.

House Speaker John Boehner says “No Progress to Report” on Fiscal Cliff; Blasts Obama for Not Facing up to America’s Spending Problem – Video 12/7/12

Here is video of GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calling Obama and the Democrats on their bluff of a “Fiscal Cliff” proposal. McConnell actually proposed to add Obama’s laughable “Fiscal Cliff” offer sent up by Tim Geithner as an amendment “as is,” giving Democrats a chance to support Obama’s offer. Obama’s proposal has no spending cuts and a massive tax increase, and asks for unilateral and unlimited power to raise the debt-ceiling any time he desires. Harry Reid refused to support bringing Obama’s offer to a vote because he knows it is a piece of junk.

Sen. Mitch McConnell Urges Senate Vote on Obama’s Laughable “Fiscal Cliff” Proposal; Democrats Won’t Bring it to a Vote – Video 12/5/12

Here is video of Texas Sen. John Cornyn saying he is not optimistic there will be a deal to avoid the “Fiscal cliff” because President Obama would rather conduct Campaign Rallies than put serious proposals to cut spending on the table.

Sen. John Cornyn Not Optimistic on Fiscal Cliff Deal; Says Obama has Put No Plan on the Table to Reduce Spending – Video 11/28/12

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