WASHINGTON Dec 28 U.S. Senate leaders are
working to craft legislation by Sunday that averts the year-end
"fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts, but many details
needed to be worked out after a crucial meeting with President
Barack Obama on Friday.
U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and his Republican
counterpart Mitch McConnell, termed the meeting "constructive"
and "positive" and said they would keep working on trying to
find a solution over the weekend.
After adjourning on Friday, Reid he would probably not call
the Senate back into session until about 1 p.m. EST/ 1800 GMT on
Sunday to give leaders time to hash out a deal.
"We are engaged in discusssions, the majority leader and
myself and the White House, in the hopes that we can come
forward as early as Sunday and have a recommendation that I can
make to my conference and the majority leader can make to his
conference," McConnell said on the Senate floor.
"So we'll be working hard to try to see if we can get there
in the next 24 hours. So I'm hopeful and optimistic," he added.
An aide to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner
said it was agreed at the White House meeting that the Senate
should act first.
"The speaker told the president that if the Senate amends
the House-passed legislation and sends back a plan, the House
will consider it - either by accepting or amending," the aide
However, Reid said it would be difficult to craft a solution
that can win passage in both the House and Senate, adding that
it involves "big numbers."
"Whatever we come up with is going to be imperfect," Reid
said. "Some people aren't going to like it. Some people will
like it less. But that's where we are and I feel confident that
we have an obligation to do the best we can."