Reid said he is not “overly optimistic but I am cautiously optimistic” but reiterated that any agreement would not include the less generous inflation adjustment for Social Security.
“We’re willing to make difficult concessions as part of a balanced, comprehensive agreement, but we’ll not agree to cut Social Security benefits as part of a small or short-term agreement,” Reid said.
McConnell and Reid were hoping for a deal that would prevent higher taxes for most Americans while letting rates rise at higher income levels, although the precise point at which that would occur was a major sticking point.
Also at issue were the estate tax, taxes on investment income and dividends, continued benefits for the long-term unemployed and a pending 27.5 percent cut in payment levels for doctors who treat Medicare patients.
As the Senate opened a rare Sunday session, Chaplain Barry Black offered a timely prayer for lawmakers.
“Lord, show them the right thing to do and give them the courage to do it,” Black said. “Look with favor on our nation and save us from self-inflicted wounds.”