President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, R, Senate Majority Harry Reid, D, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D, are set to begin talks today at the White House about the so-called fiscal cliff. Here are four things to know about the talks.
What is the fiscal cliff? It involves the expiring of Bush-era tax cuts in 2013, a debt-limit increase and more.
Are Democrats and Republican on the same page? No. Obama has called several times since re-election for the Republican-controlled House to pass a Senate version of a bill to avoid the fiscal cliff, and Boehner on Wednesday called for the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass the House version.
What’s the difference between the bills? The biggest one is that Obama-favored bill extends tax cuts for the middle class but lets the cuts on the rich expire. Boehner and Republicans aren’t on board with that plan, and Boehner said, “We are not going to hurt our economy and make job creation more difficult, which is exactly what (the Senate) plan would do.”
Is there hope of a compromise? Obama and Boehner have both said they are willing to work with each other and are optimistic a deal will happen, but the sides appear as far apart as ever.