Forcing all responsibility of a solution onto the U.S. Senate, as of Thursday Republican House Speaker John Boehner has thus far refused to summon the House of Representatives back to Washington D.C. in order to resolve the fast-approaching fiscal cliff.
Conversely, on Thursday Democratic Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada reconvened the United States Senate in hopes of finding some kind of solution to avoid the upcoming fiscal cliff.
In addition, President Barack Obama cut his vacation in Hawaii short in an attempt to continue to negotiate a last minute agreement.
Attacking House Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) and the republican leadership for their inability to convene and come to a bipartisan agreement, Senator Reid stated on the Senate floor, “If we go over the cliff we’ll be left with the knowledge that it could have been prevented with a single vote in the republican-controlled House of Representatives.” Reid noted that had the Speaker brought the tax cut extension bill which passed in in the Senate in July 2012 to the House floor for a vote, it would have passed overwhelmingly, with both Democrats and Republicans in support. Reid remarked, “It’s not too late for the Speaker to take up the Senate-passed bill, but that time is even waning down.”
Sounding less than optimistic, Reid also said, “I don’t know time-wise how it can happen now … without participation of [Senate Minority] Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner nothing can happen on the fiscal cliff. And so far, they are radio silent.”
Many economists have stated that the failure of reinstatement of the middle class tax cuts along with the draconian spending cuts passed in 2011, both to take effect on January 1, 2013, could have a disastrous effect on the economy, warning that such events could trigger another recession.
Other economic news over the past 24 hours has been less than encouraging for a better economy in 2013. According to a report by Bloomberg, The research company MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse announced on Wednesday that there was only a 0.7% increase in holiday retail sales in 2012, the lowest holiday sales increase since 2008. Had a solution been found to the tax cut issue prior to the holiday season, the holiday sales most likely would have been significantly higher.
In addition, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced Wednesday that the debt ceiling may be reached by Monday, December 31, earlier than previously expected. Secretary Geithner will make adjustments as has been done previously in order to move the date back so Congress has time to resolve the increase in the debt ceiling.