For the first time in a week, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner spoke about the fiscal cliff over the phone, but there’s no word of progress made or future talks planned with only twenty-six days to go before the fiscal cliff.
Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH), who is a member of the Appropriations Committee, believes that there’s a growing sense in the Republican party that “the President has won this round relative to the rates” but they still need to sit down and work out the spending part of the deal, which he feels can be reached if the President moves forward with entitlement reform.
LaTourette comments that the Republicans’ walk out yesterday, heading home because there are no votes between now and the weekend, is not as significant as it appears. “We’re not doing anything to get this done because there’s nothing we can do,” he says. “This is going to be a negotiation between the President of the United States and House Speaker John Boehner.”
House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama finally breaking silence by speaking on the phone yesterday, but with twenty-six days left before we tumble over the fiscal cliff, there’s still no sign of progress, and we could be facing massive tax hikes and spending cuts at the start of the new year.
This morning on “Starting Point”, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), member of the Budget Committee, supports the president’s plan, saying that it is consistent with his campaign promises to extend tax cuts for the middle class, but not for the wealthiest Americans. He adds that the Republicans’ “unspecified proposal” is an “unacceptable” response to the president’s plan.
Merkley believes Republicans are playing a “game of chicken” with the fiscal cliff: “It’s not acceptable that this game of chicken continue… There need to be very specific negotiations. If they need to keep them private and contained for awhile to get into the details, so be it, but action is required.”
The U.S. is just 27 days away from falling over the fiscal cliff, but there is still no deal in sight. Texas Republican Congressman Jeb Hensarling offers his take on the stalemate this morning on “Starting Point”. Hensarling is the newly-named Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and he Co-Chaired the Super Committee on Deficit Reduction.
Hensarling refuses to budge on raising revenue, though he thinks the president will achieve it regardless. “There’s nothing we can do to stop that,” he says, “but the bottom line is you can’t solve this problem through revenue.”
Hensarling refuses to raise tax rates because he says “the fiscal cliff, relative to our nation’s spending driven debt crisis, is a pothole...What’s changed is on the spending side, and yet all this discussion is on the tax revenues.”
With 27 days left before the fiscal cliff, talks of a deal in Washington are still at an impasse. President Obama told Republicans that he will not accept a proposal on the fiscal cliff if it does not include raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, rejecting House Speaker Boehner's deficit reduction plan on that basis.
This morning on "Starting Point", Stephanie Cutter, former Deputy Campaign Manager for the Obama 2012 campaign, stresses it is clear that compromise is possible, but Republicans need to come together. Cutter says, "We still have time to put a deal together. The President has a detailed proposal on the table. Republicans need to decide where they want to move. John Boehner needs to decide how he's going to get his own caucus together. They're becoming increasing isolated in their position."
Cutter adds that "there's...plenty of time for compromise. The President's position is clear. We're not going to do anything that hurts the middle class."
Prior to Rep. Nancy Pelosi's announcement that she will run again for Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) weighs in on Rep. Nancy Pelosi's possible future as House Minority Leader.
Soledad O'Brien and the Starting Point team share their thoughts on a new survey in the National Journal on the large gap in salary between male and female congressional staffers.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is dropping his efforts to draft a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act. The decision comes just days after President Obama announced a similar plan by executive order on Friday.
Under the new policy, the Obama administration will not deport most young people that have been brought illegally into the U.S. by their parents. In an interview, Rubio said he and other Republicans were not consulted about that plan, and criticized the president's move as an election year pander to Latino voters.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) talks with Soledad on "Starting Point" this morning to explain his opposition to President Obama's executive order on immigration.
See more from the interview in the clip below. Transcript available after the jump.