With little more than a day remaining to avert tax increases for almost every U.S. worker and to halt federal spending cuts, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell worked to bridge gaps over income tax rates, the estate tax and other issues.
“There’s still significant differences between the two sides but negotiations continue,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said on the Senate floor today. The Senate will resume its session tomorrow at 11 a.m. Washington time and “perhaps” have further announcements then, he said. “I certainly hope so.”
McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, reached out to Vice President Joe Biden in an effort to break the impasse.
Congress is working to avert more than $600 billion in tax increases and federal spending cuts, the so-called fiscal cliff, set to start taking effect in two days. The House and Senate are holding an unusual Sunday session after President Barack Obama on Dec. 28 asked Reid and McConnell to try to find a solution.
“The sticking point appears to be a willingness or interest or frankly, the courage to close the deal,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “I’m willing to get this done, but I need a dance partner.”
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat, said unresolved issues include the income threshold at which tax rates would rise, expiring estate tax levels and how to prevent an expansion of the alternative-minimum tax.
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