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Reid: 'Fiscal cliff' deal by Christmas 'extremely difficult'

December 11, 2012|By Morgan Little
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) speaks to members of the media during a news briefing on Capitol Hill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) speaks to members of the media… (Alex Wong / Getty Images )

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took on the role of the Grinch on Tuesday, expressing doubt that a deal on the "fiscal cliff" will be reached before Christmas. Reid, speaking to reporters, said it would be “extremely difficult” to finish a deal by Dec. 25, placing the onus on Republicans in the House and a tightening legislative schedule.

Reid pointed to Republican opposition as a main cause of the delays in the Senate, saying a bill would probably take “a couple weeks” to reach fruition as a result.

“House Republicans – and I assume the Republicans here are working with them in the Senate – they can’t decide what they’re going to do,” he said.

In addition to the fiscal cliff, Reid highlighted the defense authorization bill, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the supplemental $60.4 billion in Sandy aid requested by the White House as additional burdens on the Senate’s tightening 2012 schedule.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) echoed Reid’s remarks, telling reporters that “we’re basically running out of time.”

QUIZ: How much do you know about the fiscal cliff?

“As you noticed over the last few weeks, Senate Democrats have basically ruled out any spending reductions at all. If you look at the problem that we have, it’s overwhelmingly that we spend too much,” McConnell said, adding that he’s been waiting for President Obama “to become serious about solving the problem.”

Reid's and McConnell’s comments on the latest non-developments in the fiscal cliff debate follow those of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) earlier in the day. Boehner, addressing the House, called on Obama to offer more specificity on spending cuts to keep the deal-making process moving forward.

“A lot of people know that the president and I met on Sunday. It was a nice meeting; it was cordial,” Boehner said. “But we’re still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the balanced approach that he promised the American people.”

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