Daily Tax Update - December 11, 2012: Reid: Fiscal Cliff Deal By Christmas "Extremely Difficult"

REID:  FISCAL CLIFF DEAL BY CHRISTMAS “EXTREMELY DIFFICULT”: Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that it would be "extremely difficult" to finish an agreement by December 25.  Reid added that a bill would probably take "a couple weeks" to complete.  Reid said, "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."

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell responded, "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 added that he’s been waiting for President Obama "to become serious about solving the problem."
  • House Speaker John Boehner said today that he remained optimistic an agreement could be reached.  Boehner said, "I'm an optimist.  I'm hopeful we can reach an agreement.  This is a serious issue and there is a lot at stake."  In reference to Sunday’s meeting with President Obama, Boehner said, "Where are the president’s spending cuts?  When is the president going to get serious? . . . . The longer the White House slow-walks this process the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff."
  • White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said today, "The irony of this is that the White House offer had very specific cuts, the GOP counteroffer had almost none."
  • Meanwhile, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp issued the following statement today in response to a letter to Congress from the Business Roundtable (BRT) stating that higher tax rates on individual taxpayers should be considered to avert the fiscal cliff.  Camp said, "Big business may support raising tax rates on small businesses, but I do not.  The solution to the fiscal cliff isn't higher tax rates, which economists agree will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs for middle-class families.  Republicans remain committed to finding a balanced solution to the fiscal cliff – one that involves both savings from substantive entitlement reforms and higher revenues through pro-growth, comprehensive tax reform."

FINANCE COMMITTEE HOLDS HEARING ON TAX COURT NOMINATIONS:  The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing today on U.S. Tax Court nominees Albert Lauber and Ronald Buch.  Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said, "I am confident that both of you will be excellent judges on the Tax Court."  Ranking member Orrin Hatch added, "Both of your backgrounds seem to suggest that you have the necessary skills and experience to serve on the Tax Court."  In a statement issued today, Baucus said, "Mr. Buch and Mr. Lauber will play essential roles ensuring U.S. tax laws are administered fairly.  Both nominees have strong backgrounds in tax law and will use their experiences to ensure that taxpayers can make their voices heard."  The nominees will have to be approved by the full Committee and Senate.

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