Dickerson: Sides seek leverage on fiscal cliff negotiations

After Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the Fed might not have the tools to offset the economic consequences of a series of tax hikes and budget cuts known as the fiscal cliff, CBS News Political Director John Dickerson said his comments add another level of pressure for Congress and President Obama to act.

"What's interesting is that Bernanke said everybody in Washington has to act like adults to allow the economy to grow," Dickerson said.

Dickerson added that there are "two sets of deals." He said one is a short term deal to deal with the spending cuts and then another deal related to the tax and entitlement reform.

"So that's the really interesting question is what the reaction will be to the short term deal that gives them the space to take on the long difficult questions of tax reform and entitlements," he said.

Dickerson said that everyone is aware of the impact but everyone has different ideas on how to solve it. He said one option is to allow taxes to go up then in the New Year, President Obama would have "more leverage" to lower tax rates for the middle class but keep the rates at a higher rate for the wealthy.

"Because the cliff isn't an actual cliff, because nothing will happen the day after that is catastrophic there's an argument for letting this happen - the president gets more leverage," he said.

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