With hours to go until the “fiscal cliff” deadline and no definitive plan in place, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) says no matter what occurs on New Year's Eve, there is still a lot of work that lies ahead.
“There’d still be a lot left undone. So we’re going to have a lot of work to do in the early part of 2013 and if we focus on what’s best for middle-income families in America and whats best for the economy and don’t bring in an idealogy and kind of no-compromise approach to every debate, I think we’re going to be a lot better off,” he said.
Lawmakers are trying to strike a deal that will head off automatic deep spending cuts in a variety of programs and the automatic expiration of some job benefits.
Around January 1, there will be about $500 billion in tax increases and $200 billion in spending cuts.
Speaking on Monday afternoon, President Obama said, “an agreement is in sight but it's not done.” An agreement would still need to be approved by both the House and Senate.
One proposal would include higher taxes for those earning more than $400,000 a year, permanent extension of middle-class tax cuts, extended unemployment benefits and no new spending cuts.
Early discussions involved talk of cuts to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
“If we’re going to make changes to those programs this needs to be done very seriously and done in a way that ensures that those programs will always be there and we can keep our promise to folks that we made that promise to and secondly that we do it in a way that is thoughtful and constructive and not in a way that is kind of harshly idealogical,” said Casey.