Several attempts at reaching a grand bargain on the deficit have blown up over the House GOP's insistence on not increasing revenue. Reid last week warned that the committee would not produce a bill unless Republicans agreed to revenue.
Failure to produce an agreement would trigger an automatic $1.2 trillion cut in defense spending, Medicare and other programs starting Jan. 1, 2013 — the same date the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts expire.
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.