Florida Congressional members await "fiscal cliff" deal, travel to D.C.
Local Democrats, Republicans unsure of solution
12:30 AM, Dec 31, 2012
12:33 AM, Dec 31, 2012
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Florida members of Congress traveled to Washington D.C. on Sunday, waiting for any sort of development in relation to the so-called fiscal cliff.
Hours before the country approached the edge of the New Year's deadline, the U.S. Senate met and left on Sunday night with no deal, just as members of the U.S. House of Representatives returned to the capital.
"The atmosphere with regards to the talks is almost as cold as the temperature outside," said Democrat Alcee Hastings, who represents District 23.
Hastings told WPTV NewsChannel 5 during a telephone interview he believes the Senate will do something before the January 1st deadline. He said a deal could come at any hour but it is in the hands of the Senate.
"It's the craziest happy New Year that I have ever participated in," said Hastings.
Hastings said he expected the Senate to play "small ball" and feels Congress will get through using a temporary solution. He feels Congress will have to pick the issue back up in February or March.
Florida Republican Congressman Tom Rooney, who represents District 16, is not as optimistic.
"The overwhelming majority of people up here believe that there will not be a deal done and we will in fact go over the cliff," said Rooney. "I see everyone's taxes going up to the tune of on average about $3000."
Rooney said both political parties are so far apart and fears the country will slide into a recession.
"I don't see a solution. I could be wrong and hopefully I am," said Rooney.
If Rooney is right, it is up to him and other Congress members next session, like incoming Democrat Lois Frankel, to do something.
"I think it will be something small because there's not a lot of time between now and the first of the year. So I think hopefully they come together on a tax deal and then the heavy lifting is going to come over to the next Congress," said Frankel.
The Congressional members WPTV NewsChannel 5 spoke with said they have not heard of any rumors of any deals coming out of the Senate. They said they are standing by hoping for a development.