Congress in rare New Year’s Eve fiscal cliff session: Only hours left til deadline

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Fiscal Cliff Notes for Dec. 31, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Deadline Day


With fiscal cliff negotiating continuing on Monday, with just hours left to 2012, the Senate convenes at 11 a.m. ET and the House opens for legislative business at 10 a.m. ET.

A note from the GOP House leadership to members sent Monday morning sums up the potentially chaotic nature of the day ahead:

“IMPORTANT SCHEDULER NOTE: Today’s schedule remains VERY fluid. Members are

advised to remain close to the Capitol as additional legislation and votes are

possible pending action from the Senate. Please stay as flexible as possible as

we move through the day.”


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) asked his former Senate colleague, Vice President Joe Biden, to intervene to help jumpstart stalled negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Biden and McConnell–but the White House is doing so in close coordination with Reid. Reid and Biden are on the same page, but if it is easier for McConnell and Biden to talk, so be it. Never underestimate the power of personal relationships in understanding Congressional deal-making. The communication is better when people who get along are talking.


The latest Associated Press story is HERE.

My Monday column lays out the Sunday bargaining in the Senate and what is unrolling for Monday, in this rare, historic New Year’s session of Congress. Read my column HERE.


Will Congress go over the fiscal cliff? Maybe. I lean to the highly likely. But there are degrees of going over. If there is a deal and lawmakers need a bit more time to conclude the paperwork and vote, then the impact of finishing up on Tuesday or Wednesday is minimal; the legislation can be retroactive to Jan. 1. A more pressing deadline is noon Thursday, when the new Congress is sworn in.


Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), appearing Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” explained that deadlines force Congressional action. Said Durbin, “I’ve been around Washington long enough to know that it takes a deadline, it takes a lot of sweat and a lot of worry, and people reach a point where they finally say, “All right, let’s try to find a way through this. It’s happened before. It could happen again.”

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