President Will End Vacation Return Wednesday To D.C. To Tackle Fiscal Cliff
Poll shows just 50 percent of Americans believe negotiations will bring deal
December 26, 2012President Barack Obama is ending his Hawaiian vacation Wednesday to make a late-hour bid to reach a fiscal-cliff deal before the year ends.He will leave Honolulu Wednesday night and should be back in Washington on Thursday, the White House said. First lady Michelle Obama and their daughters will remain in Hawaii.
House and Senate members are expected to reconvene Thursday.
Obama and Republicans have been at loggerheads over how to prevent automatic tax increases for everyone and deep spending cuts that will be triggered in the new year without an agreement.
With neither side showing any sign of blinking, the battlefield will probably shift to the Senate this week after GOP disarray in the House stymied any progress before Christmas.
According to multiple Democratic and Republican sources, no weekend conversations occurred between the White House and Senate leaders from either party or their aides.
The main dispute continues to be over taxes, specifically the demand by Obama and Democrats to extend most of the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush while allowing higher rates of the 1990s to return on top income brackets.
Republicans oppose any kind of increase in tax rates, and House Speaker John Boehner suffered the political indignity last week of offering a compromise that his colleagues refused to support.
A new poll showed that only half of Americans believe Obama and Congress will strike a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff by the year-end deadline.
The Gallup daily tracking poll released Wednesday showed 50 percent thought a deal was very or somewhat likely, compared to 48 percent who said a deal was not likely. That's a much tighter margin than a poll taken earlier this month: On December 9, 59 percent said a deal was likely, while 38 percent considered a bargain unlikely.
In mid-December, there were signals Obama and House Republicans were close to an agreement that would avoid the automatic spending cuts and tax increases that go into effect at the end of the year. But hopes of a deal were deflated last week when some House Republicans refused to support a compromise plan put forth by House Speaker John Boehner.
Wednesday's poll showed just over half of Americans -- 54 percent -- support Obama's handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations. That's compared with just 26 percent who approve of the job Boehner is doing. Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, had an approval rating of 34 percent for his role in the fiscal cliff negotiations.
Reid is poised to assume a larger role going forward, since the battlefield for cliff negotiations appears to be shifting to the Senate this week after GOP disarray in the House stymied any progress before Christmas.