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December 31st, 2012
11:04 AM ET

National Journal reporter Chris Frates weighs in on the latest fiscal cliff negotiations

The key figures involved in fiscal cliff talks have released few details about negotiations since they restarted Sunday afternoon. Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell took over negotiations on Sunday. Sourves say a big stumbling block has been avoided due to Republicans reportedly dropping their demand to reduce social security "cost of living increases." National Journal reporter Chris Frates has been working the story from Capitol Hill all night into Monday morning and weighs in on the latest fiscal cliff negotiations.

Filed under: Fiscal cliff
December 31st, 2012
10:47 AM ET

Senator Isakson puts faith in McConnell and Biden

As Congress gets ready to meet at 11AM for final discussions on avoiding the fiscal cliff, Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia has faith in the players involved.

He says, “Any time you’re putting a deal together, it’s always the details that will kill you, and you have to get the details done. There’s a lot of back room operation going right now, making sure all the I’s get doted and T’ get crossed. I’m sure a final deal hasn’t been agreed to, but as long as Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden are talking- remember they’re the two that made it possible to get the last deal done. So, we’ve got our best two negotiators at the table.”

December 31st, 2012
10:39 AM ET

"The house is going to have to get it together," says Congressman Chris van Hollen

With less than a day before the U.S. hits the fiscal cliff, Maryland Congressman and ranking member on House Budget Committee, Chris Van Hollen has a positive attitude. He says, “I think there is good news. The conversation continued late in the the night last night. I think now there’s a better that 50-50 chance we will avoid the fiscal cliff by midnight tonight….everyone’s focused on trying to get the job done.”

As to what needs to be done now, he says, “The reality is that they’re going to have to get it together, the majority of the house that is. So we are continuing to provide input into those discussions to try to make sure there’s no miscalculation. To try to make sure that whatever emerges from the senate can indeed get a majority in the house.”

December 31st, 2012
10:12 AM ET

Google counts down the top trends of 2012

After analyzing 1.2 trillion searches in 146 languages, Google breaks down the top trends of 2012.

In the United States, the 2012 election and Hurricane Sandy top the list as most searched events. Searching Whitney Houston’s sudden death made her one of the most searched musicians. And Jeremy Lin of “Linsanity” fame was the top searched athlete.

The most popular videos searched on Google were Carly Rae Jepsen's addictive hit “Call Me Maybe” as well as “Gangnam Stlye,” which is also the first video to pass the billion mark.

December 31st, 2012
10:12 AM ET

Chaffetz: the "ball is in Senate's court"

With Democrats and Republicans still disagreeing on the fiscal cliff crisis, Representative from Utah and serving on the House oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz got up early to chat with Ali and Christine.

“The ball is in the Senate’s court. The House of Representatives did its job. We passed a bill on August 1st. It extended out every one of the rates and if the president and Senate don’t like it, it is their responsibility to make an amendment, make the change, have a vote, and send it back over to us. We have done our jobs,” he says.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
December 31st, 2012
10:11 AM ET

Grover Norquist says Congress has not started the conversation to beat the fiscal cliff

We've got less that 24 hours until we reach that impending fiscal cliff. Founder and President of Americans for Tax Reform talks to Ali about what he thinks needs to be done.

He says, “Look. What we need to do is extend Bush era tax cuts for every single American. Boehner said let’s get that done for 99% Americans and he has two points of leverage over the next four years. This fight does not end in a week. This is a long-slogging fight. No budget cuts on the table that Obama or democrats have put there. We haven’t gotten to the conversation.”

Filed under: Uncategorized
December 28th, 2012
11:13 AM ET

Economist Ken Rogoff: U.S. needs to see movement on 'the bigger problems'

Ken Rogoff, former Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund and professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University, joins "Starting Point" on Friday to discuss the impending fiscal cliff.

"Most likely they'll reach a deal in a few weeks," Rogoff says, arguing that the long-term problem is the inability of Republicans and Democrats to agree on larger issues.

"Well, we'd really like to see some forward movement in the bigger problems, the tax system. There are actually things we need to spend more money on, some things we need to spend less money on. It's dysfunctional. And those ideas are out there. They've been discussed. But they've reached this point where both sides are saying I'm going to hold my breath until I get my way," Rogoff explains.

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Filed under: Economy • Fiscal cliff
December 28th, 2012
10:54 AM ET

Best-selling author Dennis Lehane offers unusual reward for lost dog

Dennis Lehane, best-selling author of "Gone Baby Gone" and "Mystic River," is at a loss. Lehane's black and tan beagle, Tessa, jumped a fence and disappeared on Christmas Eve in Brookline, Massachusetts. But the crime novelist hasn't given up. Lehane is offering an unusual reward for anyone who finds his dog: the opportunity to be named as a character in his next book.

"I put up a little note on my Facebook page and said if anybody gets information that leads to her coming home – I just thought instead of putting a reward, put something different – I'll name a character in a book after you," Lehane explains on "Starting Point."

To those joining the hunt for Tessa, Lehane says, "She is super fast. She's very, very sweet but she's also wary. She was a rescue dog, taken off the streets so she's going to be a little wary, skittish, so don't chase her. And if you see her, contact any of the numbers that have been left or any of the web sites, and we will get the proper authorities out to find her."

December 28th, 2012
10:32 AM ET

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) says averting fiscal cliff will require leadership

With the fiscal cliff only four days away, President Obama will meet with congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle Friday to discuss a potential last-minute solution to the impending cliff. Sen. Olympia Snow (R-ME) joins "Starting Point" to discuss what it will take for Washington to pass a bill and avoid the cliff.

Snowe says that closer to the deadline officials may be willing to come to an agreement, "but then again it will require the leaders to talk to their caucuses and talk to the individual members of the Senate and the House of Representatives and understanding and underscoring the peril that we're placing the country this moment in time and that we have to resolve these issues."

The moderate Republican senator from Maine adds that she hopes that Obama and congressional leaders will be able to agree on a framework that Senate can address.

December 28th, 2012
09:56 AM ET

Eva Longoria gives back

Famous for her role on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” Eva Longoria is a symbol of beauty in Hollywood. But her heart lies in her charitable work. Alina Cho sits down with Longoria in her segment “Big Stars, Big Giving.”

Born the youngest of four daughters to Mexican-American parents, her humble roots and strong female presence at home encouraged her towards Latino women and education. With statistics like 17% of Latinas drop out of high school and fewer than half of adults hold college degrees, it made sense to start her own foundation focused on educating women on the benefits of education.

Filed under: Uncategorized
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