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The House and Senate still uncompromising as fiscal cliff deadline nears

By Richard Piatt | Posted - Dec 27th, 2012 @ 9:25pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — The Senate is in session, but the House of Representatives is not. It appears that the Congressional delegation is relegated to watching from the sidelines.

With all the posturing and finger pointing, it's hard to tell if there's really a sense of urgency about the deadline for the fiscal cliff. But, Americans are facing a very real possibility of seeing $100 to $200 cut out of their paychecks every two weeks.

While Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee wait in Washington for guidance on a Fiscal Cliff fix, Congressmen Rob Bishop, Jason Chaffetz and Jim Matheson are waiting in Utah and the House is not set to convene until Sunday.

In the absence of meaningful explanations about why a solution isn't forthcoming, the politics of it all are taking center stage.

"The American people I don't think understand the House of Representatives is operating without the House of Representatives," said Senator Harry Reid. "It's being operated with a dictator of a Speaker not allowing the vast major of the House of Representatives to get what they want."

Senator Harry Reid issued that challenge to House Speaker, John Boehner on Thursday morning who in turn released a statement saying Reid should "talk less and legislate more."

Reid says Speaker Boehner is stalling for a solution until after he's re-elected speaker at the first of the year. Republicans in the Senate say they're not willing to sign on just anything.

"Republicans aren't about to write a blank check for anything Senate Democrats put forward just because we find ourselves at the edge of the cliff," said Sen. Mitch McConnell.

It's been 10 days since there have been any major negotiation between the White House and Congressional leaders on a solution. Even Starbucks is getting involved by selling cups that say "come together" in the D.C. area.

Without a deal, Bush-era tax cuts will expire January 1st, and deep spending cuts will set in. Congress set the deadline to force a compromise, but that plan seems to have backfired.

At this point, it appears that the New Year's day deadline will happen without any action from Congress. But, lawmakers can go back and make a solution retroactive later.

"Americans have a right to be upset about what's happening in Washington," said House Minority Whip, Stenny Hoyer.

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