House and Senate leaders emerged from the White House today with cautious optimism about the probability of a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested setting a Christmas deadline to come with a solution to the end of the Bush-era tax cuts and massive sequestration spending cuts.
“And while we’re going to continue to have revenue on the table, it is going to be incumbent for my colleagues to show the American people that we’re serious about cutting spending and solving our fiscal dilemma. I believe that we can do this and avert the fiscal cliff that’s right in front of us today,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
“We should show some milestones of success so that confidence can build as we reach our solution because if we do not reach agreement, not only will we miss the opportunity for doing something good for our economy and lifting the experience and confidence in our country, we will have an economic downturn that must be avoided,” Pelosi said. “We understand our responsibility there.”
And so it is like when we arrive at a point where we all know something has to be done, there is no more ‘let’s do it some other time,’” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said. “We’re going to do it now. I think there is we feel very comfortable with each other and this isn’t something we’re going to wait until the last day of December to get it done.”
Reid indicated he’ll keep the upper chamber in session through the Thanksgiving break to work on a deal.
After the holiday, leaders will meet again with President Obama.
“I can say on the part of my members that we fully understand that you can’t save the country until you have entitlement programs that fit the demographics of the changing America in the coming years,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “We’re prepared to put revenue on the table, provided we fix the real problem.”