WASHINGTON — Eleventh-hour negotiations in the Senate made little to no progress Sunday as lawmakers brought America to the very edge of the fiscal cliff, and Republicans asked Vice President Joe Biden to get involved in a late bid to jump-start the talks.
Senators were still pursuing their sputtering effort as the final 30 hours began to elapse before income taxes rise on all Americans and deep spending cuts are imposed across the government, from defense contracting to medical research, from highway maintenance to national parks.
Closed-door talks among leaders remained stalled for most of the day but resumed, with Biden’s participation, late in the afternoon, just before gloomy rank-and-file senators adjourned for the night. As scheduled, House members arrived in the Capitol for possible action on a Senate bill, but they had no cliff deal to vote on, with senators confounded by their inability to bridge partisan divides.
“I am frustrated, embarrassed, and angry,’’ declared Senator Joseph Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat, one of many senators who said the chances were rising quickly that Congress would vault off the cliff.
Republicans and Democrats said they agreed that middle-class taxpayers should be protected from the tax increases, but they still disagreed over where to set the income threshold for taxes to rise on the wealthy. The two sides also remained at odds over how much spending should be reduced as part of a short-term deal.
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week