President Obama was en route to Washington Thursday to face the ever-dwindling prospects of a deal on the "fiscal cliff" before the New Year, officials said.
Obama was cutting short his Hawaiian vacation to fly to Washington overnight with U.S. Senator-designate Brian Schatz on board Air Force One, NBC News reported.
"What Obama has outlined as minimally acceptable to him doesn't come within a country mile of passing either the House or the Senate," a senior Republican aide told Politico of the president's latest proposal. "No negotiation can change the fundamentals."
"Unless [House Speaker John] Boehner and [Senate Minority Leader] McConnell are willing to buck their Tea Party members, then I see nothing happening," a Democratic aide told the Washington newspaper.
House Republicans said Wednesday Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must move forward a bill to avert the so-called fiscal cliff or else he would be derelict in his duties, The Hill and Politico of Washington reported.
Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said the Senate must either send the legislation to President Obama as it reads currently or amend and return it to the House.
GOP leaders have promised Congress 48 hours' notice if they decide to convene the House. The earliest that could happen is Friday.
The tax cuts, which have been extended several times, are set to expire and coincide with across-the-board spending cuts imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011, pushing the economy over the "fiscal cliff" economists say could throw the country back into recession.
In the absence of action on the matter, in a few days tax rates will go up on all income levels and federal spending cuts will kick in.
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