Schumer, left, and Harkin held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the fiscal cliff negotiations and Schumer predicted a post-Christmas Senate session to handle any deal.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer signaled Wednesday that a post-Christmas Senate session to handle any agreement on a package to avert the fiscal cliff is becoming inevitable.
The New York Democrat said that some senators plan to head to Hawaii on Saturday to attend the funeral service for the late Democratic Sen. Daniel K. Inouye who died Monday. The service is scheduled to take place on Sunday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
Both Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are said to be planning to make the weekend trip.
“They’re not that far apart,” he said of the positions taken by the White House and House GOP leaders in the negotiations on a year-end tax and spending package. “If they were to come to an agreement, say on Friday, God willing, they could write the stuff over the Christmas break, and then we’d have to come back before the New Year and pass it.”
In the most plausible scenario, the Senate could come back into session late on Dec. 26 or on Dec. 27.
While the news may be welcome to many on Capitol Hill because it would mean they could take a few days off for Christmas, the same can not be said for policy staffers and those in offices involved in getting any deal into legislative language, including legislative counsel, the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation.
“As you know, the speaker suspended negotiations with the president earlier this week. My understanding is the two sides haven’t spoken since Monday,” Schumer said. “I don’t think anybody should get too dispirited, however. It always looks darkest before the dawn.”
Schumer made his comments at a news conference with Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, one of the leaders of the Senate’s liberal wing on economic issues. The duo convened the media availability to criticize Boehner’s decision to push his “plan B” — a bill to ensure that taxes do not go up on anyone making less than $1 million a year.
“Let’s be clear, Speaker Boehner’s ‘plan B’ is just the latest die-hard effort protect as many wealthy Americans as possible from the tax increase that kicks in on Jan. 1,” Harkin said at the press conference.
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.