Fiscal cliff update Dec. 29: A Sunday deal in the works

In the wake of President Obama’s Friday evening press conference, it’s up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to come up with a final proposal to avert the fiscal cliff.  President Obama says he is “modestly optimistic” that the leaders of both parties will unite around a compromise by Sunday when the Senate is expected to take up votes.  Likewise, House Speaker John Boehner has called the lower chamber of Congress to reconvene on Sunday. Either way, the next couple of days are sure to be filled with all the action of a Hollywood blockbuster — unfortunately, sans Chuck Norris.

Expect talks to continue well into the night between Congressional Democratic and Republican leadership. Remember: if Reid and McConnell can not come to a compromise, the Senate Majority Leader is simply going to put the Obama fiscal cliff plan up for a vote. This, hopefully, will not be the final word, as conservatives must push for a greater reduction in the federal government’s deficit spending. Though one could make the argument that no matter what the proposal is, it is going to be heavy on the taxes, light on the spending cuts in order to make it to the president’s desk.

Stay with Human Events for the latest Sunday. For now, analysis and news from around the web:

Fox News: Senators work behind scenes Saturday on fiscal deal, votes would come Sunday
Senate leaders are working off-stage Saturday to reach a final-hours deal to avert a fiscal crisis, with no official proposals or votes expected until Sunday.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has adjourned the chamber until Sunday so Democratic and Republican leaders can negotiate on a deal to present to the House.  House members will officially return to Capitol Hill on Sunday in expectation that the Senate will present them with a plan to stop tax increases that are scheduled to kick in next week.

WSJ: Senate Leaders Seek Cliff Deal as Obama Keeps Up Pressure
Senate leaders on Saturday rushed to assemble a last-ditch agreement to avoid middle-class tax increases and possibly delay steep spending cuts, as President Barack Obama reiterated his call for lawmakers to find some common ground after weeks of gridlock.  Following a White House meeting Friday among Mr. Obama and congressional leaders, aides to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), were racing against the clock for a bipartisan bargain. The leaders could present legislation to senators as early as Sunday, with a vote possible on Sunday or Monday.

CBS News: Obama, Republicans tout progress in “cliff” talks
President Obama, in his weekly address today, reiterated much of what he told reporters yesterday after his last-minute “fiscal cliff” meeting with bipartisan congressional leaders, declaring, “I still believe we may be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses [of Congress] in time.”  “But if an agreement isn’t reached on time,” said Mr. Obama, “then I’ll urge the Senate to hold an up or down vote on a basic package that protects the middle class from an income tax hike, extends vital unemployment insurance for Americans looking for a job, and lays the groundwork for future progress on more economic growth and deficit reduction.”

Reuters: House Republicans say resigned to tax hike in fiscal cliff
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are resigned to seeing some sort of income tax increase in legislation to avoid a “fiscal cliff,” but such efforts could be doomed in the absence of spending cuts, some Republican lawmakers say.  Congress and President Barack Obama are gearing up for a last-ditch attempt to avoid $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts that could halt progress in the U.S. economy, which lately has been showing signs of gaining ground.