Dec 29, 2012 12:33 AM by Tony Spehar - firstname.lastname@example.org
There's no deal in sight yet, but there is some movement in Washington as lawmakers have begun a last ditch effort to keep the country from going over the fiscal cliff that would trigger automatic spending cuts and tax increases.
President Obama met with congressional leaders on Friday, after the meeting both Democrats and Republicans expressed hope that they could reach an agreement before the end-of-the-year deadline.
"I just had a good and constructive discussion here at the White House with Senate and House leadership about how to prevent this tax hike on the middle class," Obama described. "I'm optimistic we may still be able to reach an agreement"
The optimism among leaders in Washington was shared by 5th district Congressman Doug Lamborn, the Republican said he sees a chance to avoid going over the cliff.
"I think there's going to be some anticipation when we get back on Sunday," Lamborn explained.
There is still a lot of debate to come in the short time before the fiscal cliff deadline is reached. One of the main sticking points is whether or not to raise taxes for the wealthy. President Obama wants to raise taxes for those making over $250-thousand a year. Others are willing to negotiate for taxes to go up only for those making more than $400-thousand a year.
"For me personally I don't like either of those, for one thing we're not looking at spending," Lamborn described. "The tax rates I don't think should go up at all."
On Friday President Obama said both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate need to make concessions and vote on a deal so that the house can quickly vote as well. Lamborn said Democrats need to agree to spending cuts and reforming Medicare and social security, and then Republicans will bend on other issues.
"In the spirit of compromise I'm willing to examine putting revenue on the table, not raising tax rates, that's a non-starter with me," he explained. "But putting deductions and credits on the table that could lead to higher revenues."
Obama also gave an ultimatum on Friday; if no deal is reached he demanded the Senate vote on a bare bones package that would at least stop an increase in taxes for all Americans and fund unemployment payments. Lamborn said he wouldn't vote for a basic deal, but thinks it won't be necessary because lawmakers should be able to come to an agreement.
"I do think there's time to get this done," he explained.
Lamborn says he's going to fly back to Washington early on Sunday as the House is scheduled to get back in session that afternoon, hopefully giving them time to vote on whatever the Senate comes up with if they reach any agreement at all.