Reid, McConnell in fiscal cliff talks

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (UPI) --
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., held talks Saturday in an effort to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.



McConnell told CNN Friday the two leaders hoped to have a plan they could bring to their caucuses Sunday.



Most of the actual discussions would be done by the two senators' staffs, their aides said, and carried on by email and telephone.



President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats would like to bring in more revenue by raising income tax rates for income above $250,000, while preserving current rates for all income under $250,000. Republicans apparently hope to increase the limit to $400,000 and would also like to keep estate taxes low.



In his weekly radio talk, Obama urged Congress, if no deal is in place, to pass legislation extending tax cuts for those with incomes under $250,000, and to extend long-term unemployment insurance benefits.



If no budget deal is in place by Jan. 1, the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush would end and automatic across-the-board cuts in federal spending would kick in -- creating what has come to be called the fiscal cliff.



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