President Obama is holding the first of a series of meetings at the White House today on averting the so-called fiscal cliff of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending reductions set to take effect at the end of the year. Under the terms of last year’s debt deal, Obama and Senate Democrats must agree on a deficit reduction package with House Republicans or face automatic cuts that will likely contract the economy. Labor groups, including the heads of the AFL-CIO and SEIU, will sit down with Obama today, followed by corporate CEOs on Wednesday. The president has vowed to resist Republican calls for extending tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, but has signaled he may compromise on reducing so-called entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security. Speaking on MSNBC, independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said the 2012 elections signaled a rejection of the Republican agenda.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “The middle class of this country and working people — and that’s what this election was about — say, 'Yeah, we’ve got to do deficit reduction, but don't cut Social Security, don’t cut Medicare, don’t cut Medicaid.’ There are ways to move toward a balanced budget which are fair. I think Mr. Boehner has got to understand they lost, and let the wishes of the majority of the people in this country prevail.”