With no deal in hand, lawmakers spend New Year’s Eve on the cliff

Senate leaders are racing against the clock to reach a “fiscal cliff” deal the House and Senate can approve on New Year’s Eve.

Leaders in the upper chamber narrowed their differences Sunday as Republicans agreed to drop a demand to curb cost-of-living increases to entitlement benefits, while Democrats showed flexibility on taxes.

Yet after months of talks on ways to avoid the fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of 2012, House and Senate lawmakers find themselves approaching the new year without a bill to present to their members.

Hopes for a deal appear to be in the hands of Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Biden, who spent much of the night in negotiations.
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