President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner remain stymied in negotiations over the fiscal cliff. The two men met for almost an hour yesterday, their third third meeting aimed at finding ways to avoid more than $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to begin taking effect next month, with no public announcement of progress.
The House and Senate are not in session today. Holiday cheer may be in short supply when lawmakers return for what could be a long work week heading into Christmas. While they wait for a deal on the fiscal cliff, they’ll be working on disaster aid and the defense policy bill and pressing leaders to schedule action on bills that otherwise will die when the 112th Congress ends.
Beyond the fiscal cliff, Obama signs the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act today. The bill authorizes the president to extend to Russia and Moldova Permanent Normal Trade Relations and will sanction persons who are responsible for gross violations of human rights in Russia.
Also today, Elisse Walter succeeds Mary Schapiro as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Federal Reserve board meets on operating standards for foreign banks. And state governors face a deadline for setting up health insurance exchanges under Obamacare.