Negotiations are at a stand still as fiscal cliff draws closer

POSTED: Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 9:00am

UPDATED: Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 9:01am

In Washington today: fiscal breakdown.

Negotiations are a no-go for now.

And Republicans have scheduled a vote today that would keep tax rates low - even if you make almost a million dollars.

President Obama has already said -- that's an automatic veto.

A lot of Democrats are planning to speak out against it later this morning.

They claim today's vote is wasting time, as we inch ever closer to the fiscal cliff deadline.

Today's vote: keeping low tax rates for everyone making up to a million dollars -- with an ultimatum for the president.

"He can call on Senate Democrats to pass that bill, or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in history." House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio

Democrats vow it'll never pass the Senate.

And Conservatives are furious, arguing Republicans have "painted themselves into a corner."

"Real fiscal conservatives would simply walk away from this mess," said Media Research Center's Brent Bozell.

Democrats doubt today's millionaire only-tax hike will pass. "They're more interested in stunts," derides Rep. Steve Israel, New York.

President Obama's take on today's vote.

"That defies logic - there's no explanation for that," said the President.

He's urging Republicans to accept his offer: nearly a trillion in spending cuts and low taxes for incomes under $400,000. "Take the deal! You're hurting people to give another advantage to folks who don't need help," said President Barack Obama.

"He's trying to call out Republicans by saying 'Your problem is not with what I'm proposing - it's with me,'" says CNBC Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood.

Despite the breakdown in negotiations - and today's polarizing vote - the President says he's still optimistic they can reach a deal before Christmas.

There's a second vote happening today - to put off automatic spending cuts that would mostly hit the Pentagon, and replace them with cuts aimed at food stamps, the new health law and other domestic programs.

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