–Senate Republican Leader Repeats Opposition To Hike Marginal Tax Rates
–Sen. McConnell: President Obama Is ‘Key’ To Budget Talks
–Senate Majority Leader Reid: Need ‘Balanced Approach’ To Deficit Cuts

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said
Thursday that President Obama remains “the key to success” of fiscal
cliff talks, adding that he hopes Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is
coming to Capitol Hill today with a “specific plan” to boost economic
growth and control spending.

In remarks on the Senate floor, McConnell said he remains concerned
by the president’s “level of seriousness and engagement” in breaking the
fiscal cliff impasse.

McConnell said he hopes Geithner’s meetings show that the
administration is ready to set aside campaign “talking points” and
engage in a detailed and specific fiscal negotiation.

“We’re waiting on the president. We can still get there,” McConnell

McConnell once again said he opposes raising marginal tax rates
but is open to new revenues.

Geithner is traveling to Capitol Hill Thursday with separate
morning meetings scheduled with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid and afternoon discussions with McConnell and
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Both McConnell and Boehner issued statements Wednesday that made it
clear they expect Geithner to bring concrete ideas to Capitol Hill.

Speaking before McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
repeated his call for House Republican leaders to allow the House to
vote on a Senate-passed bill that would extend Bush era tax cuts for
those families making $250,000 or less.

Reid called on Boehner to “end the suspense” surrounding the fiscal
cliff and to pass the Senate tax cut bill.

“The way out of this standoff is clear,” Reid said.

Boehner has rejected this idea repeatedly.

Boehner will be holding a briefing at 11:30 a.m. EST Thursday and
is expected to speak about fiscal issues.

** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **

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