Over the weekend, direct talks began between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Vice President Biden to try to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff."
Mainly, they fought over the estate tax, which Republicans have wanted to repeal since the Reagan administration. Republicans call it the “death tax” and claim it punishes successful people and taxes the same income twice, reports The Washington Post.
In a 2010 agreement, estates worth more than $5 million are taxed at 35 percent. Republicans want to keep that plan, while Democrats want to drop the plan to include estates worth $3.5 million (and more) and raise the estate tax rate to 45 percent, reports Mother Jones.
About 0.01 percent of Americans actually leave this planet with estates valued at more than $3.5 million. This is a big deal for the very wealthy, but inconsequential to 99 percent of the country.
President Obama said on 'Meet the Press' this morning (video below): "They say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way, but the way they're behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected. That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme."
“We’re going to find out in the next 48 hours what Congress decides to do. We have been talking to the Republicans ever since the election was over. They have had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers.”
Senator Harry Reid said that there would be no Senate votes on a fiscal cliff deal, or anything else, on Sunday night, which leaves Monday as the very last day to make a deal, which the House would also have to approve.