Cliff deal close: Politico
We'll probably update this later today if or when a deal is reached:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden engaged in furious overnight negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff and made major progress toward a year-end tax deal, giving sudden hope to high-stakes talks that had been on the brink of collapse, according to sources familiar with the discussion.
McConnell and Biden, who served in the Senate together for 23 years, are closing in on an agreement that would hike tax rates for families who earn more than $450,000, and individuals who make more than $400,000, according to sources familiar with talks.
he vice president and the Senate minority leader only began talking Sunday, after negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and McConnell sputtered.
Sources close to the talks said a deal is now more likely to come together but cautioned that obstacles remain, including how Speaker John Boehner and House Republican leaders react to any tentative agreement.
"The leader and the VP continued their discussion late into the evening and will continue to work toward a solution. More info as it becomes available," a McConnell spokesman said.
It comes as Washington awakens on a chilly New Year's eve to a daunting reality: If lawmakers and the White House are not able to broker a last-minute deal on the fiscal cliff, the country will actually go over it.
"I've been here four years, and I cannot believe negotiations have reached this level of gridlock. I am fed up with the stalling," said Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.
It appears that even if the two sides can resolve their differences on taxes, the spending cuts will go ahead as scheduled. That isn't good news for our national defense, or the Pentagon, which has sent out 800,000 notices to employees that some may have their hours cut or jobs eliminated.
There will be little merriment tonight as the witching hour approaches.