The fiscal cliff countdown clock tells us there is just 21 days left for Democrats and Republicans to come to some sort of deal.
With little resolved after months of back-and-forth discussions, which have recently turned into more heated exchanges, U.S. President Barack Obama has taken over the role of leading negations for his party, while Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner is chief negotiator for the GOP.
The two men met for an unplanned White House meeting Sunday. Little details were made public regarding the powwow, but from duplicate statements from both sides, it doesn't appear much was accomplished.
The following messaged was delivered by White House spokesman John Earnest as well as an aide to Boehner. "This afternoon, the president and Speaker Boehner met at the White House to discuss efforts to resolve the fiscal cliff. We're not reading our details of the conversation, but the lines of communication remain open."
Statements from each side Monday made it clear core tax and spending issues remained unresolved, but both sides maintain they are waiting for details from the other side.
Democrats and Republicans are basically saying to each other, "it's your move."
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Meanwhile, Americans are sweating out the looming threat of a $607 billion hit that is set to wallop the sagging U.S economy next year in the form of tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts.
Also hanging overhead is whether or not to raise the debt ceiling. The federal deficit has swollen to a staggering $16.4 trillion.
Republicans remain unwilling to waiver on the tax issue and are adamant they will not agree to any deal that includes raising taxes on American's most prosperous individuals. With Republicans dominating the House, any tax hike appears doomed.
With little resolved and little time left, an agreement before year's end looks unlikely.
Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee on "Fox News Sunday" acknowledged, "There is a growing group of folks looking at this and realizing that we don't have a lot of cards as it relates to the tax issue before year end."
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, added, "No Republican wants to vote for a rate tax increase."
President Obama and his team say they would be willing to make concessions on spending cuts and entitlements if Republicans agree to a compromise of raising the income level for new tax increases come 2013. The rates are presently proposed at $250,000 and above.
Reiterating the GOP's tax stance was a statement from Boehner spokesman Michael Steel on Monday which read, "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."
For the latest fiscal cliff information, including how it could affect your money, check out this 2013 Guide to the Fiscal Cliff.
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