Little progress in "fiscal cliff" talks, senior lawmaker says

WASHINGTON Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:16am EST

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers have made little progress in the last 10 days toward a compromise to avoid the harsh tax increases and government spending cuts scheduled for January 1, a senior Democratic senator said on Sunday.

The United States is on course to slash its budget deficit nearly in half next year. Closing the gap that quickly, which in Washington is referred to as going over a "fiscal cliff," could easily trigger a recession.

"Unfortunately, for the last 10 days, with the House and Congress gone for the Thanksgiving recess ... much progress hasn't been made," Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, told ABC's "This Week" program.

A deadline is looming. Absent action by lawmakers and President Barack Obama, roughly $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts will start to hit households and companies in early January.

Republicans and Obama's Democrats are at an impasse over the president's wish to raise income tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, which Republicans say would hurt job creation.

Republicans also want to cut spending on social programs more than Democrats say they will accept.

Durbin said Democrats are willing to allow small changes to parts of these entitlement programs, including public health insurance programs for the elderly and poor, but the Social Security government pension program should not be on the table.

"Bring entitlement reform into the conversation. Social Security, set (it) aside," Durbin said.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; editing by Todd Eastham)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
Ed57 wrote:
Drop the proposed ten million new Medicaid signees. Make even the poorest pay a tiny deductable each time they visit a doctor or ER in order to reduce overuse from minor illnesses. Quit extending unemployment.
BUT, continue with the insistance to raise taxes on the very rich.
That is the path we should take.

Nov 25, 2012 12:12pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Recommended Newsletters

Reuters U.S. Top News
A quick-fix on the day's news published with Reuters videos and award-winning news photography and delivered at your choice of one of four times during the day.
Reuters Deals Today
The latest Reuters articles on M&A, IPOs, private equity, hedge funds and regulatory updates delivered to your inbox each day.
Reuters Technology Report
Your daily briefing on the latest tech developments from around the world from Reuters expert tech correspondents.