Baucus wary of 'uncharted waters' beyond the cliff
Official: Currently no plan for Congressional leaders to meet with president
While there is currently no plan for Congressional leaders to meet with the president, according to an official familiar with the situation, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus said the two sides should get to work on the fiscal cliff negotiations -- and soon, before the U.S. enters "uncharted waters."
"I think that they should start negotiating right now," Baucus said Friday on CNN's "The Situation Room."
At issue is the fast-approaching, end-of-the-year deadline for Congress to find a deficit-reduction agreement, otherwise they face a large amount of tax hikes and spending cuts that could plunge the economy into a recession.
President Barack Obama met with Congressional leadership on November 16, but they have yet to schedule in-person meetings since. Obama has spoken with Boehner on the phone, though no progress appears to have been made.
In fact, Boehner declared Friday that deficit-reduction talks were at a "stalemate."
Republicans expressed anger over White House proposals laid out Thursday, which appeared to include unexpected measures, such as a doubled amount in revenue and $50 million in stimulus funds. Boehner blasted the offer on Friday, saying "it was not a serious proposal."
"So right now we're almost nowhere," he added.
Obama said Thursday he hopes to get a deal done by Christmas, but Baucus on Friday stressed that time was running out and the reality of surpassing the deadline is becoming very real.
"If there's no agreement whatsoever, if the other side is completely intransigent, then the president has no choice but to say, OK, we're going to go over the cliff," he said.
Obviously, he added, his first preference is that "as we get closer to the cliff, we find an agreement and make some sense so we don't have to go over it."
"Because if we go over the cliff, then we're entering very uncharted waters. Who knows how the markets will react, what other positions people will take," he said. "I hope we don't have to go over."
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