SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KENTUCKY): My office submitted our latest offer to the Majority Leader last night at 7:10 p.m. and offered to work through the night to find common ground. The Majority Leader's staff informed us they would be getting back to us this morning at 10:00 a.m., despite the obvious time crunch we all have. It's now 2:00 p.m., and we have yet to receive a response to our good-faith offer.
Now, I'm concerned about the lack of urgency here. I think we all know we're running out of time. This is far too much at stake for political gamesmanship. We need to protect the American families and businesses from this looming tax hike. Everyone agrees that that action is necessary. In order to get things moving, I have just spoken with the Majority Leader. I also placed a call to the vice president to see if he could help jump-start the negotiations on his side.
The vice president and I have worked together on solutions before, and I believe we can again. I want my colleagues to know that we'll keep everyone updated. The consequences of this are too high for the American people to be engaged in a political messaging campaign. I'm interested in getting a result here.
I was here all day yesterday. As I indicated, we submitted our latest proposal at 7:00 p.m. last night. We're willing to work with whoever, whoever can help. There is no single issue that remains an impossible sticking point. The sticking point appears to be a willingness, an interest, or frankly the courage to close the deal. I want everyone to know i'm willing to get this done, but I need a dance partner.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NEVADA): We have been negotiating now for 36 hours or thereabouts. We did have conversations last night that ended late in the evening between staffs. This morning, we have been trying to come up with some counteroffer to my friend's proposal. We have been unable to do that.
I have had a number of conversations with the president, and at this stage we're not able to make a counteroffer. The Republican leader has told me that — and he's just said here — that he's working with the vice president, and he and the vice president, I wish them well.
In the meantime, I will continue to try to come up with something. But at this stage, I don't have a counteroffer to make. Perhaps as the day wears on, I will be able to. I will say this, I think that the Republican leader has shown absolutely good faith. It's just that we are apart on some pretty big issues.
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