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‘Major setback’ in fiscal cliff talks

Negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have suffered a “major setback” after Republicans demanded the inclusion of new method for calculating entitlement benefits as part of the fiscal cliff package, according to Democratic sources.

The provision, known as “chained CPI,” is opposed by many progressives because it would result in lower payments for Social Security beneficiaries.

Democrats did not want to include this as part of the current, scaled-down fiscal cliff talks. But Republicans are insisting it be in the new package.

Democrats are objecting, saying they have given ground on other issues, including raising the threshold for new taxes to “around $400,000” annually, as well as showing flexibility on estate taxes, sources said.

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