Senior lawmakers in both political parties predicted an end to a standoff on the U.S. fiscal cliff that threatens to yield $607 billion in tax increases and automatic spending cuts in January, while saying the details of a debt-cutting deal may come later.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, said he thinks lawmakers can reach a “framework agreement” directing tax and spending panels in Congress to craft a broad deal next year that cuts soaring budget deficits. At the same time, he said, they could agree now to a smaller package of spending cuts and some tax-code changes before the year is over.
Obama, claiming a mandate from voters after his Nov. 6 re-election, called for an immediate tax-cut extension for people earning less than $250,000 and insisted that top earners pay more. Boehner cited public support for the re-elected House Republican majority and said tax rates must not go up. They will meet at the White House Nov. 16, along with other top congressional leaders in both parties.
Democratic Senator Patty Murray said Republicans should accept some tax increases, and that Obama has a mandate to make the tax-code changes he advocates. She also reiterated earlier threats to let the nation go off the fiscal cliff if Republicans won’t budge.