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Some deem fiscal cliff impasse frustrating

Dec. 30, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- While members of the U.S. Senate are in Washington, D.C., hashing out the details for a budget package to keep the U.S. government from going over the impending fiscal cliff, local residents said Saturday the last-minute, last-ditch efforts from Congress could have, and should have, been avoided altogether.

The cliff itself was put into the Budget Control Act of 2011 by Congress, and it will allow for an automatic $110 billion reduction in government spending if House and Senate members fail to approve a budget plan for the next year by the end of Dec. 31.

Despite the self-imposed deadline, Congress had yet to reach a deal Saturday evening, and people like Kay and Richard Mobayed of Huntington said they were apprehensive about the legislators' willingness to reach a compromise.

"My concern is that they don't have a concern of their own about how their lack of action is going to affect the rest of the country," Richard Mobayed said. "It seems like they are staying so rigidly by their party lines that they aren't taking the people of the U.S. into account over their parties' interests."

The biggest sticking point in the negotiation process has been the extension of tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 annually.

Republicans said earlier this week they were willing to bow to President Obama's call for higher taxes on the wealthy as part of a deal to prevent them from rising on those less well-off.

Democrats said Obama was sticking to his campaign call for tax increases above $250,000 in annual income, even though he said in recent negotiations he said he could accept $400,000. There was no evidence of agreement even at the higher level Saturday, according to Associated Press reports.

Scott Smith of Indianapolis, who was in Huntington on Saturday visiting family, said he was frustrated with what he called "ridiculous" behavior from congressional leaders.

He said he believes the political game really was getting in the way of any progress toward a budget compromise.

"If they truly had the will to make a decision and act on a compromise, it easily could have been done before the election or just after," he said. "I think the partisan politics are getting in the way of due process and what is best for the nation."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.