Congress contemplates temporary fix to avoid fiscal cliff

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) takes questions during his weekly news conference on December 20, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

President Obama and lawmakers have left Washington for Christmas. But with no fiscal cliff deal in sight, Congress may end up with a working holiday.

Obama has called for the end of the Bush-era tax cuts on all those making above $250,000 a year and for a delay of automatic spending cuts until a more comprehensive deal is reached. Last week Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) pulled his "Plan B" measure, which allowed for tax increases on those earning $1 million a year, because it lacked Republican support in the House. 

Without an agreement, taxes will increase on January 1 for all Americans and major spending cuts will go into effect.

As the high stakes Washington drama continues, both parties took to the airwaves this weekend to offer ideas and layout their stances.

Reflecting the sentiment of some Senate Republicans, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), said yesterday on ABC's This Week that he would support a temporary deal to avoid broad tax increases.

"If we get down to the end of this year and the only choice we have is to save taxes going up on the middle class, then I would support that,” Isakson said. “But I wish we would have a comprehensive bill that dealt with spending, dealt with entitlements, and dealt with taxes all together."

Democrats have expressed some optimism that a deal could be reached in the Senate, but whether Congress can settle on a deal before the end of the year remains to be seen.

About the author

Dan Gorenstein is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Health Desk. You can follow him on Twitter @dmgorenstein.

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