Fiscal Cliff Notes for Dec. 11, 2012
20 days to the fiscal cliff
SPECIFICS, WHAT SPECIFICS
Here's what's up Tuesday morning on fiscal cliff deal making:
1. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) are communicating. That means directly, such as their face-to-face Sunday meeting and indirectly through negotiations staffers are conducting at their level.
2. Both Boehner and the White House say the other side is lacking in specifics.
3. Boehner's spokesman Brendan Buck told me, "Discussions with the White House are taking place, but we have no detail to share about the substance of those conversations. The Republican offer made last week remains the Republican offer, and we continue to wait for the president to identify the spending cuts he's willing to make as part of the 'balanced' approach he promised the American people."
4. White House press secretary Jay Carney said at the Monday briefing, "as you know, I don't preview meetings or conversations. Our interest here is to see if we can get a deal that's good for the economy, that makes sure that the middle class is protected, that their taxes don't go up, and it continues the growth and job creation that we've seen.
"... the President does believe that we can reach an agreement. He has put forward a very detailed plan. He has shown how he believes we need to achieve the necessary revenue targets in order to put together a large deal that would reflect the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that is so meaningful in terms of our long-term fiscal sustainability. And he's made clear in his detailed proposal that he's willing to enact cuts in our mandatory entitlement programs, including our health care programs.
"...What we haven't seen yet is any specificity at all from Republicans on revenue; we've seen a sentence on revenue. And while there have been encouraging statements by individual lawmakers about the realization that rates will go up on the top 2 percent, we haven't seen anything specific from Republicans with regard to that."
REPUBLICANS: NO FISCAL CLIFF HASHTAG
It still looks like the GOP congressional leaders are going to have to cave on extending tax hikes for top earners--though the White House, I am told, may be open to adjusting the numbers on income kick-in. Obama has the Republicans boxed in and a campaign-style drive to build public support, all under the hashtag umbrella of #My2K. No GOP unified hashtag, BTW.
Below, White House video on Vice President Joe Biden's Friday lunch with folks who would have to pay more taxes if Congress does not act by the end of the year.