-Senate Majority Leader: ‘Mystified’ By Republican Tax Intransigence
-Sen. Reid: Fiscal Cliff Stalemate Is In ‘Hands’ of GOP
-Sen. Schumer: Fiscal Cliff Stalemate Continues, But Could End Quickly

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Thursday said the
fiscal cliff stalemate continues because of Republican intransigence on taxes,
adding “it’s all in their hands.”

At a briefing with his Senate Democratic leadership team, Reid said
Republicans continue to avoid any specifics in their references to being willing
to accept additional revenues.

“It’s all generalities,” Reid said.

“They will not agree to money,” he said, adding the Republicans have not
offered “five cents” of specifics on how the revenues will be increased.

Reid called on House Speaker John Boehner to allow the House to vote on a
Senate-passed tax cut bill this year that would extend the Bush-era tax cut on
income up to $250,000.

“It’s time to protect the middle class,” Reid said, adding that the Speaker
would be bowing to “reality” in allowing this vote to occur in the House.

“Speaker Boehner can’t ignore the American people forever,” he said.

Reid said he has had no direct talks with Boehner on the fiscal cliff,
adding that fiscal cliff negotiations are being conducted by Boehner and the
White House.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said he wonders if Boehner is delaying
aggressive budget talks until after he is re-elected as House Speaker on Jan. 3.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third ranking Senate Democrat, said the GOP “hasn’t
budged” on the specifics of higher revenues and has failed to offer needed
details on spending cuts.

“They have to lay out what they want. They can’t whisper,” he said.

Schumer said he remains “very hopeful” that a fiscal cliff deal can be done
this year.

“It’s too risky to wait,” he said.

Schumer said that while the fiscal cliff stalemate continues, the pattern
of past budget negotiations shows that they can end quickly with a speedy
agreement once the parties decide to make concessions.

–MNI Washington Bureau; tel: +1 202-371-2121; email: jshaw@mni-news.com

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