US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that the US appears to be heading over the so-called "fiscal cliff," with dim prospects for a deal that would avoid tax rises and spending cuts.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Reid admitted that he doesn't think there is enough time to craft a deal before Monday night's end-of-the-year deadline.
He lambasted House majority leader John Boehner, accusing the Republican of operating the House of Representatives like a "dictatorship."
According to Reid, Boehner is actively blocking a vote on a proposal to avert the fiscal cliff — even though the package has enough support in both the House and the Senate to pass, Talking Points Memo reported.
"Everyone knows, including the speaker of the House of Represenatives today, that if they had brought up the Senate-passed bill that would give relief to everyone making less than $250,000 a year, it would pass overwhelmingly," Reid said. "Every Democrat would vote for it, Republicans would vote for it. But the speaker, he says, 'No, we can't do that.' It has to be a majority of the majority. So they've done nothing."
Boehner and President Barack Obama have been at a stalemate over the deal, failing to reach a compromise before Christmas. While Obama opposes tax increases for any Americans earning less than $400,0000, Republicans oppose any new taxes at all.
If Congress and Obama are unable to make a deal, sweeping tax cuts passed during George W. Bush's presidency will expire. Furthermore, spending cuts mandated by a law passed to break a previous impasse will come into force.