The top Republican in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, on Thursday (December 27) said that there is still time to avert the "fiscal cliff" and a "wholly preventable economic crisis."
In a speech on the Senate floor McConnell sent a warning to Democrats.
"The truth is we are coming up against a hard deadline here and as I said this is a conversation that we should have had months ago and Republicans aren't to write a blank check for anythingSenate Democrats put forward just because we find ourselves at the edge of the cliff. That wouldn't be fair to the American people. That having been said, we'll see what the President has to propose. Members on both sides of the aisle will review it and then we'll decide how best to proceed. Hopefully, there is still time for an agreement of some kind that saves the taxpayers from a wholly, wholly preventable economic crisis."
Answering his Republican colleague Senate Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid laid the blame for Republican intransigence on raising taxes squarely on the shoulders of Republican mastermind and strategist Grover Norquist.
"This is not a capsule of a couple of days. This has been going on for years. They can't cross over the threshold that has been built by Grover Norquist. People who are rich, who make a lot of money, they're not opposed to raising the taxes on them. The only people in America who don't think taxes should be raised on the rich are the Republicans who work in the building. So, anytime the Speaker and the Republican Leader come to the President and say: 'We've got a deal for you.' The President's door is always open and mine is too."
Lawmakers and President Barack Obama are up against a Dec. 31 deadline for finding a way to stop $600 billion in potentially harmful tax hikes and spending cuts from taking effect with an alternative deficit-reduction formula.