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We're down to the wire and an in -- President Obama is leaning on top lawmakers to cut a deal.
Right now senate leaders are rushing to hammer out some kind of last ditch compromise.
-- congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel is live with the latest on negotiations.
Well hi -- this is -- critical window and fiscal cliff talks were not expecting an announcement today.
But the top two senators are trying to carve out a deal capable of winning bipartisan support.
After meeting with the top four congressional leaders present Obama said the US cannot afford a politically self inflicted wound to our economy.
Fortunately congress can prevent it from happening if they act right now.
I just had a good and constructive discussion here at the white house with the senate and house leadership about how to prevent this tax hike on middle class.
And I'm optimistic we may still be able to reach an agreement that could pass both houses in time.
Senate leaders cannot strike a deal the president wants congress to vote on what would be a plan C it would focus on three key areas keeping tax cuts for those making.
250000 dollars a year or less extending unemployment benefits and delay dramatic spending cuts until later next year.
The top senate Republican recognizes this is a critical time.
Condition discussion which the majority leader myself annoyed.
In the hopes that we can column come forward as early as Sunday and have a recommendation.
That I can make them conference and the majority leader -- his conference.
And so will be working hard to try to -- we can get there.
In the next point four hours.
Sources say house speaker John Boehner deferred to his senate colleagues and told -- house leaders would consider -- or amend their plan.
What's not expected to be included is increasing the debt limit something Democrats have wanted Republicans have resisted.
A leading Republican senator tells me permanence is key.
Giving certain beyond tax rates the death tax and addressing the Alternative Minimum Tax the threshold for extend the bush tax cuts whether it's 400000 dollars.
500000 dollars or 750000.
Dollars is also key point.
-- A heavy -- before the end of the year thank you Mike Emanuel live from Washington.
Here for a fair and balanced debate are Republican congressman Steve divers of Ohio and democratic congressman John Young at the Kentucky.
You -- -- numbers guys congressman's divers use it on the house financial services committee and congressman Armey if you were on the Budget Committee.
So as we watch to see if the senate if if they can strike a deal there.
-- wonder if there's some wiggle room and that 250000.
Dollar tax -- threshold that the president wants to raise taxes on people making above that.
Republicans want to raise the threshold.
We're hearing -- reports of 400 -- 500000.
Congressman Armey do you think the president will negotiate on on that in particular he seemed has -- pretty firm on.
Well he has but I think ultimately some number higher than that would probably be acceptable to -- certainly -- Democrats in the house.
I introduced him but I introduced the amendment in the budget committee to raise the rates just on incomes over million dollars every Republican on the committee voted against that.
Though the 400000 dollar level seems to me to be about right that represents about the top 1%.
Of income earners in the country those -- the people who.
Got 93% of all the income growth last year so big that seems to be a number I think -- there's some flexibility there.
Congressman -- so if there is some flexibility on on that level for that the tax hike.
Do you think the house GOP would get behind some sort of stripped down package that.
Maybe -- on that the tax level but doesn't deal with spending as much as -- -- like.
Well I think we need to come together and do the best we can on both fronts I think spending has to be on the table at some point.
But I think we need to work to prevent tax increases on as many Americans as we can and I think there's a way to do that in fact I think congressman you -- amendment from last year makes a lot of sense.
If we -- get it now but you know if the numbers a little less than that we need to save tax hikes on as many Americans as we can I kind of feel like I'm a lifeguard we got to save as many.
People from drowning in higher taxes is we can't.
The house is back Sunday back in session on Sunday.
Do you all expect that there will be something from the senate that you can vote on even Sunday night serving congressman young.
-- I think there's probably a little bit overly optimistic.
I'm looking for something on Monday because the Senate's gonna have to act first he's a suspect -- happened sometime Sunday.
And then or -- early Monday and then we'll get something on Monday.
Afternoon I think that's the more likely scenario.
So do you think it'll you'll come -- I indicted under the wire.
-- -- I agree with congressman -- -- -- that I think we hopefully -- see something on Monday I doubt we'll see it Sunday night.
But I think we might -- up on Monday I'm still optimistic I'm always much more optimistic when I'm at home and Ohio.
Than I am when I get back to DC but all -- I'd still optimistic and I think we can avert this I think there's enough common sense Republicans in common sense Democrats to come together.
To get this thing solved and I think I think it'll happen.
Let's about a couple of things that may or may not be in this legislation Madonna -- White House stripped down it's going to be upset about the estate -- is it.
Is -- going to go up as the president wants in in this legislation congressman's divers.
Well I hope not the estate tax -- a lot of family farmers in my district and a lot of small business people.
It's important to remember that money's already been taxed.
And a lot of times people have to sell family farm just to pay the taxes or sell the family business.
It's a real shame that we've got to get that fixed and solved.
So we need permanence on the estate tax we need a bigger exemption and -- like we have today.
I think would work if we could make it a little bigger that'd be great to.
And -- congressman your -- of what about that the debt limit you know we're gonna hit the debt ceiling December 31 sixteen point four about trillion dollars.
Is that going to be worked into this piece of legislation or is that after the new year.
Well I don't think it's going to be what I hope that we were able to orchard in this legislation good -- then we would avert another man made crisis that we we're all too good at doing these days.
So I I would I would hope it's part of this package but it should never be a part of negotiation because again as as I know you all of discussed many many times this is something that does then he raised routinely over seventy times over the last fifty years.
There's something it shouldn't even be in the law doesn't save us any money it doesn't keep us from spending any more money.
Just shut the government down if Britain and -- the full faith and credit of the United States just about recognizing that the -- we incur.
And and it shouldn't be a part of many extortion and process.
Congressman -- I got I'll let you have the last one sentence word on that.
Why do think the debt limit is important it's part of our leverage it's not extortion but it's about.
Making sure that we can live within our means and address the real problem that spend it.
I congressman Steve Cyrus and -- -- -- thank you for joining us today we appreciate your insights.
Thank you thanks for having me have been.
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