Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidPuerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate McCain files B amendment to boost defense spending Dems to GOP: Cancel Memorial Day break MORE (D-Nev.) said Tuesday it would be “extremely difficult” for Washington to reach a deal before Christmas to avoid the looming “fiscal cliff."
“We can do things very quickly, but this is not something we can do easily,” Reid said at his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.
“But until we hear something from the Republicans, there’s nothing to do ... I think it’s going to be extremely difficult to get this done before Christmas," he added.
Reid's comments came after Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerHouse GOP faces dilemma on spending bills Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return MORE (R-Ohio) earlier in the day delivered a rare House speech, also suggesting that little progress had been made in talks.
BoehnerJohn BoehnerHouse GOP faces dilemma on spending bills Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return MORE accused President Obama of dragging out the negotiations and said the White House needed to "get serious" about identifying spending cuts to reach a deal.
“Where are the president’s spending cuts?” Boehner asked. “The longer the White House slow-walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff.”
Boehner and Obama met on Sunday at the White House, but the Speaker's comments and those from Reid suggest there has yet to be a breakthrough towards a deal to avoid January's tax hikes and automatic budget cuts.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellPuerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate Overnight Healthcare: Momentum on mental health? | Zika bills head to conference | Only 10 ObamaCare co-ops left Trump outlines ‘America First’ energy plan MORE (R-Ky.), speaking only moments before Reid on Tuesday, said there were some aspects of a deal that were ready to go, and others that would take some time to hash out. But, mirroring Boehner, he suggested the onus was on Democrats to address cuts.
On entitlement reform, McConnell said “we know what [the changes] are, they don’t require any more study, it just requires the courage to do it.”
“Tax reform obviously can’t be done by the end of the year,” he continued. “That’s going to take a while.”