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The Berkshires

No deal yet in Washington, D.C.

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Albany/HV: No deal yet in Washington, D.C.
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There is still no deal in Washington on a package to head off the so-called "fiscal cliff,” a combination of deep budget cuts and steep tax hikes due to take effect at year's end, unless a deficit reduction plan is in place. As Congress goes back to work this week, YNN's Bill Carey says some lawmakers are still optimistic they can act before the deadline.


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As the clock ticks closer and closer to the fiscal cliff, the talk in Washington is of compromise. And compromise may hinge on the actions of moderates on both sides of the aisle. Lawmakers like Democrat Bill Owens and Republican Richard Hanna, who've tried to stake out some middle ground in the debate over cuts in spending and increases in taxes.

“Both sides believe what they're doing is right. And I think they need to compromise. They're going to need to look each other in the face and say, ‘this is more important than we are. And it's more important than our party. And it's more important that we govern at this critical time,’” said Rep. Richard Hanna, (R) 24th Congressional District.

Both Hanna and Owens have doubts about a grand deal to resolve the deficit dilemma, but both expect some agreement to head off the fiscal plunge at year's end.

“To me, that would send a great message to the markets. It would send a great message to large corporations. And it would send a great message to the rest of the world that we were serious about getting our fiscal house in order,” said Rep. William Owens, (D) 23rd Congressional District.

Owens and Hanna say there have been positive signs. Lawmakers backing away from no-tax hike pledges. A decision by the Republican house majority to back any deal reached by speaker John Boehner with President Obama.

“That, to me, is of critical importance to Mr. Boehner. That he goes in to these negotiations with a strong hand, because the President will now know that Mr. Boehner can deliver on whatever deal they agree to. Very critical in terms of our moving forward,” said Rep. Owens.

There has been talk of progress and deals in the past, often torpedoed by the most doctrinaire members on both the left and right. But Hanna says recent elections have sent a message.

“Some of the people who were the most extreme are not coming back. Now, I can't speak to the individual, but I can speak to the mood. People may agree with you, but they also want the work done. People are angry, and rightfully so. Government spends way beyond its means and it can't continue to do that. But that doesn't mean you can be a nihilist,” said Rep. Hanna.

The Republican says the hardliners on both sides need to learn that compromise is not treason.

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