Only twenty days remain until the U.S. falls over the fiscal cliff, but new reports this morning from the White House are signaling potential progress toward averting the crisis. The White House released a statement confirming that House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama met in person at the White House yesterday. Both Boehner and Obama also released statements saying they would not comment specifically on what was discussed, but both agree "the lines of communication remain open." Whether this means a deal is on the horizon is still in question.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D-NJ) thinks that failing to renew the tax cuts for the middle class would create significant economic challenges to those who are already struggling, such as residents across his state. "This is a time in our fragile economy that we cannot have a goverment that is – especially Republicans – holding hostage all of this country," he says. "It's going to really hurt people."
"We saw what happened the last time we had a conflict like this around the debt ceiling debate. This debate ground on, and unfortunately, consumer confidence dipped, the economy hurt, credit was downgraded...I'm really hoping we learned a lesson from this," he says.
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.”
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."