Bipartisan deficit reduction talks remained stalled this afternoon after an early morning round of conference calls failed to produce a breakthrough.
Despite the fact that the super committee needs to have a deal in place by Monday if it is to meet its Wednesday deadline, the talks appeared to have gone into a holding pattern after Democrats rejected Speaker John Boehner's (Ohio) latest $643 billion proposal Friday.
"There's not a lot going on right now," Senate Minority Whip John Kyl (Ariz.), a member of the committee, told reporters this morning outside his Capitol Hill office.
Kyl said he will be talking with Republicans throughout the day by phone, but said nothing further has materialized since Democrats rejected Boehner's plan.
"The question is, is there anything more we can do with that, or anything else," Kyl said.
The breakdown is bad enough that operatives on both sides have begun to ramp up their spin in an attempt to saddle the other party with the blame. Republicans are increasingly making the case in private that Democrats — and the president — do not want the committee to succeed, and are instead content to use the failure as a talking point against the GOP in next year's elections.
Democrats counter that Republicans are unwilling to increase taxes on the wealthy out of fear of anti-tax warrior Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform, whom Democrats and some Republicans have long believed holds too much sway over the GOP.
As for President Barack Obama, he is unlikely to suddenly engage in the process when he returns tomorrow from an Asia trip. White House officials have made clear that he wants no part of the super committee fight following the debt ceiling fight this summer and on Friday they sought to place the blame on Congress.
"Avoiding accountability and kicking the can down the road is how Washington got into this deficit problem in the first place, so Congress needs to do its job here," White House Spokeswoman Amy Brundage told Agence France Presse Friday.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.