Sen. Mike Johanns says talks continue in Washington, though no resolution to the so-called “fiscal cliff” seems imminent.
Johanns says there simply isn’t much new to report about the fiscal cliff talks.
“This week, the President and the Speaker did resume face-to-face discussions. That piece of it is encouraging,” Johanns tells reporters during a conference call. “We still have a chance to get this done before the end of the year, but each day that’s taken off the calendar is bringing us closer and closer to the cliff.”
Johanns says more than a thousand Nebraskans have contacted his office with their opinions about the negotiations taking place in Washington. Johanns says he values the opinions of Nebraskans.
“In fact, we’ve set up a page on our website with information and we’re inviting people to offer some comments and I’m personally reading each of those,” according to Johanns.
Economists coined the term “fiscal cliff” predicting that if Congress fails to act and Bush-era tax cuts expire and deep, automatic budget cuts go into effect at the end of this month, the economy will fall off of a fiscal cliff and the country might well slide back into recession.
Johanns, a Republican, says it is unlikely talks will produce anything unless President Obama, a Democrat, quits campaigning and begins negotiating in earnest.
“But our country desperately needs leadership and I’m hoping that’s what we see from President Obama. And I’m hoping he is the one that reaches out and says, ‘Look, we can bridge these gaps.’ That’s my hope,” Johanns says.
Johanns has been critical of the president for holding a series of campaign-style events aimed at putting public pressure on Congressional leaders to reach agreement on the fiscal cliff talks.
AUDIO: Sen. Mike Johanns discusses talks on attempting to avoid “fiscal cliff” [1:05]