With just over 24 hours to go until the fiscal cliff deadline, Senate negotiators are still scrambling to come up with a last-minute deal to prevent the huge tax hikes and budget cuts scheduled to go into effect on January 1. Lawmakers have spent the weekend trying to come up with a deal that can pass both the Senate and the House, but negotiators are reportedly still deadlocked over key provisions, including the estate tax, the extension of unemployment benefits, and cuts in Medicare payments to doctors.
The main issue, however, continues to be disagreement over what the threshold should be for letting the Bush tax rates expire. Democrats are still insisting that tax rates go up for those households earning more than $250,000 a year. Republicans want the threshold to be higher, perhaps around $400,000.
According to the Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have set the deadline for negotiations at 3 p.m. Sunday.
If all goes well, the leaders will introduce the legislation Sunday evening and hold a vote by tomorrow afternoon. The House would then have about 12 hours to take action.
If the Senate can’t reach a deal, Reid has promised to hold an up-down vote on a scaled-down bill, which would extend unemployment benefits and tax breaks only for those earning under $250,000.
Whatever happens, the next 24 hours will definitely be packed with fiscal cliff action. We’ll be updating below as things develop.