GOP leaders continue debt talks via phone

House Republican leaders are meeting Wednesday via a conference call as both parties continue to strategize over the "fiscal cliff."

A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) confirmed Wednesday that GOP leaders were chatting via phone, describing such calls as "routine." 

The conversation comes as House Republicans have placed the responsibility for averting the automatic spending cuts and expiring tax breaks that make up the fiscal cliff on Senate Democrats. The fiscal-cliff spotlight shifted to the Senate after Boehner abandoned efforts to advance an alternative tax proposal that would extend lower tax rates for incomes below $1 million, dubbed "Plan B." That effort was scrapped after Boehner was unable to garner sufficient support within his own party for the measure, as conservatives bristled at the measure, which they viewed as permitting a tax hike.

Meanwhile, there is little evident action from policymakers following the Christmas holiday.

The Senate is scheduled to return to Washington on Thursday, and President Obama is set to arrive back in the nation's capital that morning, with just a few days left before tax and spending policies take effect in January. Meanwhile, House lawmakers have yet to receive the traditional 48-hour notice that they are needed back in Washington.

"We will take a look at whatever Senate Democrats produce," said a Boehner spokesman.