By Ramsey Cox
The Hill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday said it is likely too late for Congress to pull the nation back from the “fiscal cliff.”

Speaking on the Senate floor, Reid castigated Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for sending members of the House back to their districts last week after he was forced to scrap his “Plan B” tax plan for lack of support.

The Democratic leader said that even if Boehner agreed to hold a vote extending the Bush tax rates for incomes up to $250,000 — as Democrats have demanded to avoid one part of the fiscal cliff — it might not make it through Congress in time to prevent tax increases from beginning next year.

 

“I have to be honest — I don’t know, time-wise, how it can happen now,” Reid said.

Boehner said last week that he would give members of the House 48 hours notice if they needed to return for a vote on fiscal matters, but GOP leaders have yet to give the order for them to return.

“[Boehner] should call them back today — he shouldn’t have let them go, in fact,” Reid said.

Senators arrived back at the Capitol on Thursday with time running out to reach an agreement on a slew of tax increases and automatic spending cuts that are set to begin in January.

Boehner last week said it was up to President Obama and Senate Democrats to find a solution to the fiscal cliff, and on Wednesday reiterated that the upper chamber must act first.

 

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How The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Affects You

fiscal cliff

The clock is ticking to stop tax hikes and spending cuts threatening your wallet.

By: WSPA Staff, Associated Press, CBS News | WSPA-TV

WASHINGTON –

 

Local impact of fiscal cliff talks

The clock is ticking to stop tax hikes and spending cuts threatening your wallet.

President Obama is back inWashingtontrying to hammer out a last-minute deal to avoid the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’.

If a plan isn’t approved by Jan. 1, economists say it could be a rough fall for the average family.

“If we revert back to Clinton-era tax rates, anyone who is paying income taxes will see their rates going up,” said Tom Smythe, a business professor atFurmanUniversity.

So how will the fiscal cliff impact you?

A household making $50,000 annually will see their income taxes increase $1,000 to $1,500 per year, according to Smythe.

But that’s not all.  The payroll tax extension is also set to expire.  It funds social security, and that means another tax hike of $1,000 per year for the average family.

“In total, if nothing happens, people with incomes of $50,000 will see their taxes rise on the order of about $2,000 to $2,500,” Smythe said.

7 On Your Side caught up with U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham Thursday before he left forWashingtonto get his take on the impending fiscal cliff.

“If we can’t find a fix from now until January, whatever we do will be retroactive for middle class tax payers,” said Sen. Graham.

Economists believe the fiscal cliff could even cost people their jobs.

For example, Smythe says if a deal isn’t reached, the Department of Defense will lose a big chunk of its budget.  The DOD has contracts with various companies, including Lockheed Martin which has a facility inGreenvilleCounty.

“It is a hidden cost of the political process right now,” says Smythe.  “Most companies have stockpiled lots and lots of cash on their balance sheets very specifically because they don’t know what the financial landscape is going to look like post Jan. 1.  Until that gets resolved, companies are going to hold back cash.”

 

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