Reindeer games on New Year’s Eve

McConnell called Biden into the negotiations yesterday, even though Biden has offered nothing different from Reid:

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.

The 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.

Yesterday McConnell dropped one of his party’s demands — chained CPI:

Earlier in the day, negotiations between Reid and McConnell suffered a “major setback” after Republicans demanded the inclusion of a new method for calculating entitlement benefits as part of the cliff package, according to Democrats.

The provision, known as “chained CPI,” is opposed by many liberals because it would result in lower payments for Social Security beneficiaries.

[...] On the Senate floor early on Sunday, Reid ruled out any cuts to Social Security as part of any cliff agreement.

And what if we do go over the cliff?

Democrats later left a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting on Sunday afternoon united, with many prepared to go over the cliff if no amenable deal is reached.

“The world won’t end — remember Y2K?” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). “If this thing goes on, all of a sudden, the people find out there’s a lot of revenue coming into the government — and we have a sequester that we can deal with in January and February, and I think we will. I think then perhaps — then Republicans won’t have to vote to raise taxes, we’ll all be voting to cut taxes.”

You know what? Finally we have a united Democratic Caucus willing to stand up to the Republicans. That’s a pretty good way to start a new year.

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