President Obama will soon be on his way back to Washington as the fiscal cliff looms, but House GOP leaders are looking to Senate Democrats to make the next move to avert the mix of tax hikes and deep spending cuts set to hit the economy on Jan. 1.
House Republican leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner, released a joint statement today in which they urged the Senate to either approve a pair of House bills to prevent the fiscal cliff, or amend and send them back to the House for approval or additional amendments.
"The House will take this action on whatever the Senate can pass, but the Senate first must act. The lines of communication remain open, and we will continue to work with our colleagues to avert the largest tax hike in American history, and to address the underlying problem, which is spending," said the statement from Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy and Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
The deadline for fiscal cliff action is five days away, and another deadline is soon approaching: the country will hit its debt limit on Dec. 31, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced Wednesday.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Geithner wrote that his department will undertake "extraordinary measures" to manage the country's payments and stave off default. Those steps could give lawmakers another two months before they have to vote to raise the debt ceiling. But Geithner added that it's not possible to effectively predict that time frame, given uncertainty on the fiscal cliff.