POLITICS

Report: House to adjourn tonight without fiscal cliff vote

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Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,Campaign 2012,Fiscal Cliff

UPDATE: The U.S. House of Representatives doesn’t plan any votes on the federal budget tonight, according to the chamber’s schedule. The only votes scheduled for today are on non-budget items, according to the schedule. House Republicans plan a private conference meeting at 5 p.m. Washington time. — Bloomberg News

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With just hours left until the start of tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff, congressional talks have stalled over how to deal with more than $1 trillion in looming automatic spending cuts.

President Obama's afternoon address declaring that a deal is close and that taxes will have to go up angered some in the GOP who saw it as a poorly timed political stunt.

Republicans took to the Senate floor right after the speech ended to lambast Obama, who they accused of continuing to campaign rather than sit down and work out a deal with lawmakers.

"What the president did this afternoon set us back in civility, leadership and in dealmaking," Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Obama's opponent in the 2008 election, angrily denounced the address, in which the president was flanked by middle class taxpayers.

McCain said it appeared that the president wanted to ridicule and antagonize Republicans for their anti-tax stance, even as they have signaled a willingness to increase tax rates.

"The presidential campaign is over," McCain said. "He won. Congratulations. Now let's get down to business governing this nation in a bipartisan fashion."

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced earlier that the two parties have agreed on a threshold for preserving Bush-era tax cuts, reportedly to be set at $450,000 and below. But Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on the coming automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, that Congress passed in the summer of 2011.

Democrats want to stop the cuts by using revenue from tax increases.

Republicans want alternative spending reductions to replace the cuts.

McConnell told fellow Republicans in a memo sent earlier today that he has offered a proposal that would use $100 billion in cuts to postpone the sequester for two months.

But the White House has not yet agreed to McConnell's offer, thus putting off a final deal for now as the clock ticks toward midnight.

"What the president is doing is holding hostage this agreement on taxes for all Americans in order to keep from doing the spending reduction that we already agreed to," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. said.

sferrechio@washingtonexaminer.com

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