In US 'fiscal cliff' maneuvers it's all about the holiday

Fiscal cliff

Boehner will surely respond to anything he says.

Democrats in the House of Representatives have threatened to force a vote on the tax increases if Republicans don't schedule one by Tuesday.

Republicans, who control the House and the timing of votes in it, have no intention of bringing a bill to the floor this week. That could produce some heat.

But do not expect breakthrough concessions. It's too soon. "I think we're in the initial stages," Democratic Senator Max Baucus said Friday in a CNN interview.

"There are about 30 days left before the so-called cliff hits us. I think, in about a week, we will get down to serious negotiations. That was illustrated in a round of Sunday news show appearances by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, President Barack Obama's chief negotiator, and Boehner in which nothing new was uttered.

Geithner stuck to his demand that income taxes rise immediately on families with net incomes above $250,000 a year. oehner stuck to his insistence that the administration present what he called a "serious" plan for deficit reduction before Republicans get serious on the subject of revenue.

ERODING THE CLIFF

Blunt's Republican colleague, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey who pushed his own deficit-cutting plan that Democrats pounded last year when Congress was up against another deadline, worries about the last-minute deal-making.

"It's not a good idea at all because the real problem is a spending problem. To address that, it's hard to do at a moment's notice. It requires some thoughtful legislation to get the kind of reforms that generate the savings we need," Toomey said in a brief interview. Market analysts don't think much of Washington's rhythms either, particularly when it involves a single potentially calamitous event - like going off a fiscal cliff.

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