Thune asks for leadership from Obama, Democrats on fiscal issues

“I hope that before this catastrophe hits us that we have the foresight to take on these big issues,” Thune said on the floor Wednesday. “And you can’t solve these big issues without leadership in this town and we need leadership from the president, and I haven’t seen it yet.”

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The Senate will likely adjourn for the election recess at the end of this week, as the House has planned to do.

Thune has continually criticized Obama for his “lack of leadership.” On Jan. 1, unless Congress acts, sequestration cuts will take effect and the Bush-era tax cuts will expire — an event that's been coined as “going over the fiscal cliff.”

“Experts have concluded we’re heading for a train wreck,” Thune said. “We need leadership from the president. ... We’ve got to have the president of the United States involved in these conversations.”

Some lawmakers have said they’re confident that after the elections a solution will be worked on during the lame-duck session, but Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), among others, has said she's willing to go over the fiscal cliff in order to show Republicans that they must agree to raising taxes on the wealthiest citizens.

Murray spoke on the floor shortly after Thune and said Democrats are ready and willing to work on a balanced approach once Republicans — including GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — accept the reality that revenue has to be included in a plan to reduce the deficit.

Murray called the Romney-Ryan budget plan “a fiscal fraud.”