Members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives are scheduled to return to Capitol Hill on Thursday following the Christmas break.
It will leave just five days for any actions that would keep scheduled tax increases and spending reductions from taking effect automatically on January first.
So far, there has been no agreement between President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders, from both the Senate and the House, on a deficit reduction plan. Talks completely stalled before the holiday.
Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito says, at this point, it looks like such an agreement may not even be possible. “I have never thought that we actually would (go over the fiscal cliff) and now I see that as a real possibility and that’s a total disservice to everybody.”
Congresswoman Capito, a Republican, says those on all sides need to be willing to compromise. “At some point, we’ve got to realize the large problem we’re looking at here,” she said.
First District Congressman David McKinley, also a Republican, agrees. But, he says, tax increases alone will not get the support of the U.S. House, as a whole.
“People wanted to see the spending reductions, not more taxes, even though it was 99.8% of people would not have had their taxes raised,” the Congressman said of House Speaker John Boehner’s ‘Plan B’ proposal that failed before even being put up for a vote last week.
That plan would have raised taxes, starting on New Year’s Day, for only people who make $1 million annually. During negotiations, President Barack Obama has backed a $400,000 cutoff point for those increases.
If there is no action, everyone’s taxes will go up, automatically, on January first at the same time previously scheduled spending cuts, part of sequestration, take effect for education, defense and health programs, among others.