Johanns optimistic deal will be made on fiscal cliff

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November 15th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns says not addressing the fiscal cliff would be a “failure of Congress.” In a conference call with reporters from Capitol Hill Thursday, Johanns added he’s optimistic that won’t happen.

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Sen. Johanns has been working with a bipartisan group of seven other U.S. Senators since early October. While the country focused on the election, the so-called Gang of Eight held talks to find a solution to the fiscal cliff – that looming set of tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect January 1st. Now that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are setting up their negotiations, the Gang of Eight is stepping up its own in the Senate.

Sen. Mike Johanns said he’s confident a deal can be reached to avert the fiscal cliff. (Courtesy photo)

Speaking to reporters, Johanns said he’s confident the Senators can come up with a plan, but he doesn’t want to put specifics forward yet. “I do not want to do anything at this point in time that would interfere with those discussions,” Johanns said. “I don’t want to do anything that would put the President in a difficult spot or put John Boehner in a difficult spot.”

He added, “I do not anticipate a proposal will come forward until we get a good idea of where they are at.”

Johanns said failure to avert the fiscal cliff would deal a “devastating blow” to markets, the economy and job creation. Asked about Iowa Sen.Tom Harkin’s comments that the fiscal cliff might not be so drastic, Johanns said he fundamentally disagrees and said nobody should “play chicken” on these kinds of issues.

Johanns added he’s optimistic a deal can be made mainly because of a general shift in tone since the election, which he said the President won “very clearly.”

“Many of us really feel strongly it didn’t turn out the way it should have,” Johanns said. “But having said that, it is over. The people of this country have spoken. And I think there’s just a feeling of ‘Look, let’s put that behind us.’ We had that battle. That battle has come to an end and the people have spoken.”

Johanns said the “major work” to reform entitlement spending and the tax code can’t be done within such a short window of time. But he said Congress should pass a “bridge” to get through the year.

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