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Bridget Johnson

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December 31, 2012 - 7:33 am

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said this morning on CNN that he believes fiscal cliff negotiations have progressed to a point where “the revenue issue is no longer a question.”

“I think we stand close to a deal,” the senator said.

“The question is making sure any new revenues go to debt spending reduction and deficit relief rather than new spending. It’s deficits that got us into this problem. It’s only reducing deficits that get us out of this problem,” he added.

Democrats this morning offered $450,000 as a deal on the tax-hike threshold, but Isakson wouldn’t confirm if that’s the level that’s been accepted.

“No, that’s not my best information, but it’s my best belief that they’ve reached an agreement on revenues. What that level is, I don’t know, but the question now is where those revenues go,” he said. “If they go to new spending, we’re going to have a problem making a deal because spending has been our problem. But if they go towards deficit reduction, which ultimately will be debt relief, that will be a good thing, and we probably will have a deal.”

Isakson described negotiations as “a lot of back room operation going right now, making sure all the i’s get dotted and the t’s get crossed.”

“I’m sure a final deal hasn’t been agreed to, but as long as Mitch McConnell and Vice President Biden are talking — remember they are the two that last August made the budget control act possible that got us the postponement to get this deadline now,” he said. “So we’ve got our best two negotiators at the table.”

“There will be temporary patches, I’m sure. This is not going to be a macro deal. This is probably going to be a micro deal. We’ll be back at work, when we come back after swearing in, working on those items.”

There’s been no word from the White House on how negotiations are going from Biden’s point of view.

McConnell reached out to Biden yesterday after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) showed a “lack of urgency” in responding to GOP cliff offers.

“There is no single issue that remains an impossible sticking point – the sticking point appears to be a willingness, an interest, or courage to close the deal,” McConnell said on the Senate floor at about 2 p.m. on Sunday. “I’m willing to get this done but I need a dance partner.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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