Updated 12/27/2012 09:00 PM
Reid Blasts Boehner On Fiscal Cliff Politics
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With four days to go until the end of the year, when the nation's finances could plummet off the so-called fiscal cliff, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he doesn't know how a deal can be reached and passed to avert the crisis.
The Senate was in session Thursday, tying up some loose ends, but the big question of whether Democrats and Republicans can agree on a plan to prevent the massive tax hikes and a series significant cuts to defense and domestic spending remains.
The White House says President Barack Obama spoke with all four congressional leaders Wednesday night while he was still in Hawaii. Obama is now back in Washington.
He has been pushing for a scaled-down plan and there are reports that he may send something to Congress soon.
Who or what is responsible for the gridlock in Washington? Do you fear the nation could be headed toward another recession if the "fiscal cliff" isn't averted? How would increased taxes affect your ability to make ends meet? Read New Yorkers' thoughts.
Last week, when Obama spoke of a compromise, he mentioned extending the Bush era tax breaks for all except high-income earners. He also spoke about extending unemployment insurance and halting the automatic spending cuts.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is not in session. After a conference call with its members, House leadership now says they will reconvene this Sunday.
Sources tell NY1 that House leaders say it's up to the Senate to come up a deal to prevent a drop off the fiscal cliff.
Reid criticized House Speaker John Boehner on the Senate floor Wednesday.
"John Boehner seems to care more about keeping his speakership than about keeping the nation on firm financial footing," Reid said. "It's obvious, Mr. President, what's going on around here. He's waiting until January 3rd to get re-elected as Speaker before he gets serious about negotiations, because he has so many people over there that won't follow what he wants."
Reid says he believes they would at least be able to prevent taxes from going up on middle-class Americans, those making $250,000 or less, if Boehner would just allow the Senate-passed bill on the House floor for a vote.
"People who are rich, who make a lot of money, they're not opposing raising taxes on them," Reid said. "The only people in America who don't think taxes should be raised on the rich are the Republicans who work in this building."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the criticism from Senator Reid, calling it a deflection.
McConnell said he told President Obama they will be happy to look any proposal he sends them.
"Republicans aren't about to write a blank check for anything Senate Democrats put forward just because we find ourselves at the edge of the cliff," McConnell said. "That wouldn't be fair to the American people."
The average middle-class family would face a $2,200 increase in taxes starting January 1.
Also left unfinished is the $60 billion emergency disaster aid bill for states impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
The Senate is set to vote on it this week, but there's no word on when, or if, the House will vote.