Eau Claire (WQOW) - There's just a few weeks left before the fiscal cliff of steep spending cuts and tax increases kicks in. Congress is at odds about tax increases to the wealthiest Americans.
The House of Representatives has adjourned, and won't return until next Tuesday. That may be a sign that negotiations are getting nowhere fast.
"We should be in session. The fact that they cut us loose and sent us home and have us return next week means that negotiations are at a bit of a standstill right now," says Representative Ron Kind (D-3rd District).
With neither side willing to budge, negotiations over the looming fiscal cliff are frozen. A plan to avoid the massive spending cuts and tax hikes has been passed in the Senate, but Republicans say the president's proposal gives him the power to raise the debt limit.
"He is not particularly interested in avoiding the Fiscal Cliff, and he is clearly not interested at all in cutting any spending. What the president is really interested in, as we learned just yesterday, is getting as much taxpayer money as he can first by raising taxes on small business that he believes are making too much money, and then on everybody else," say Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell.
Representative Ron Kind says both sides need to be willing to negotiate.
"In all probability, it will likely entail having to vote for something with one hand and holding your nose with the other, because there will be things in it that neither side will particularly like or care for," says Rep. Kind.
Congressman Kind says if nothing gets done before January first, there isn't necessarily reason to panic.
"It's not really a cliff or a brick wall, it's more like a fiscal slope. The spending cuts are phased in over 10 years, the tax rate changes don't happen right away so there is time on January 2nd, 3rd or 4th to make some changes, even then," Kind says.
But the longer the wait, the more nervous investors and businesses owners may become.
"You can't be certain what the market reaction might be, if people start losing confidence, if things start going south again. We're starting to turn the corner with this economic revival, jobs are starting to be created, you'd hate to see us lapse back into a short term recession," says Kind.
House speaker John Boehner and the president spoke on the phone yesterday, the first time in about a week. Nothing has leaked from that conversation, which analysts say could be a sign of progress.
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