(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
With time running out before Americans face higher tax rates and government spending cuts, President Obama is sending a plan to Congress to avert some of the ramifications of falling over the fiscal cliff. His proposal will be a much more scaled-back version of the deal he's been negotiating with congressional lawmakers, CNN reports.
According to sources, the plan will be delivered to Congress on Thursday, answering Republican calls for the president to take a bigger leadership role in the negotiations.
Without an agreement, lower tax rates enacted under former President George W. Bush will expire on Dec. 31, as well as federal unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed and a payroll tax holiday. On that same date, the nation also will reach its $16.4 trillion debt limit.
The White House announced on Thursday that Obama had placed calls to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., before leaving Hawaii late Wednesday.
But when Reid opened the Senate for business on Thursday, he held out little hope for any agreement, and placed blame on Republican leaders.
“Nothing can move forward in regards to our budget crisis until Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell are willing to participate in coming up with a bipartisan plan,” Reid said. “So far, they are radio silent.”
Thursday afternoon, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., announced that the House will reconvene Sunday, Dec. 30, at 6:30 p.m. and members have been told to be prepared to work through Jan. 2. A new Congress is set to be sworn in the next day.
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