The Fiscal Cliff

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: Dec. 31, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, yesterday--after days of inaction--I came to the floor and noted the obvious: we need to act but I need a dance partner. So I reached out to the Vice President in an effort to get things done. I am happy to report that the effort has been a successful one, and as the President just said in his television appearance, we are very close to an agreement.

We need to protect American families and job creators from this looming tax hike. Everyone agrees that action is necessary, and I can report that we have reached an agreement on all of the tax issues. We are very close.

As the President just said, the most important piece--the piece that has to be done now--is preventing the tax hikes. The President said, ``For now our most immediate priority is to stop taxes going up for middle-class families starting tomorrow.'' I agree. He suggested that action on the sequester is something we can continue to work on in the coming months.

So I agree, let's pass the tax relief portion now. Let's take what has been agreed to and get moving. This was not easy to get to. The Vice President and I spoke at 12:45 this morning, 6:30 this morning, and multiple times again during this morning. This has clearly been a good-faith negotiation. We all want to protect taxpayers, and we could get it done right now.

So let me be clear: We will continue to work on finding smarter ways to cut spending, but let's not let that hold up protecting Americans from the tax hike that will take place in about 10 hours from now. We can do this; we must do this.

I want my colleagues to know that we will keep everybody updated as we continue to try to wrap this up.

I yield the floor.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT