GOP leader to Obama: Break talks' impasse caused by 'radical... left'

GOP leader to Obama: Break talks' impasse caused by 'radical... left'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Trump takes two punches from GOP MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday said "fiscal cliff" talks are at an “impasse” and only President Obama can break the logjam.


Speaking from the the Senate floor, McConnell said Republicans have made a concession in the talks on taxes but that Democrats have so far refused to produce real spending cuts to match.

“The only balanced approach is one that includes real and lasting reforms. So Republicans have stepped out of our comfort zone. We’ve been clear about what we’ll do and what we won’t. And yet we remain at an impasse,” he said.

“It’s time for the president to present a plan that rises above these reckless and radical voices on the hard left, that goes beyond the talking points of the campaign trail, and that has a realistic chance of passing the Congress,” he added. 

Some $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts will take effect in January unless Congress acts, threatening a new recession.

Following the election, Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerGOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger Freedom Caucus presses McCarthy to force vote to oust Pelosi Stripping opportunity from DC's children MORE (R-Ohio) said that Republicans are open to tax revenue increases as part of a deficit deal but will oppose allowing income tax rates to rise.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWhite House seeks to shield Biden from GOP attacks on crime issue Lobbying world Warner backing 'small carve-out' on filibuster for voting rights MORE (D-Nev.) used his first floor address after Thanksgiving on Monday to urge the House GOP to pass a bill just extending current tax rates for the middle class. The Senate has passed the bill and the White House on Monday issued a report warning the the looming middle class tax increases could ruin the holiday shopping season.

Reid said that "as we continue to negotiate a responsible path forward, I remind everyone within the sound of my voice of one fact: this Congress is already one vote away from avoiding the fiscal cliff for middle class families and small businesses."

On. Nov. 16, congressional leaders met with Obama and announced the start of staff discussions, prompting some optimism that the sides would come together on a deal.

Plans were hatched to have staff deliver concrete proposals this week, but that timeline appears to already have slipped.

McConnell laid the blame for the slow-going discussion on liberal Democrats who are dragging their feet on reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. 

“So we’ll continue to wait on the president, and hope that he has what it takes to bring people together to forge a compromise. If he does, we’ll get there. If he doesn’t, we won’t. It’s that simple,” McConnell said. 

Obama has insisted on higher tax rates for the wealthy as part of a deal, but has also resisted the sweeping Medicare cuts favored by the GOP. The GOP, meanwhile, has not specified which tax breaks it believes can be eliminated in any future tax reform to get the new revenue.

This story was posted at 2:46 and updated at 3:45 p.m.