No "fiscal cliff" savior in sight

The "fiscal cliff" deadline lands in five days , and with it, a batch of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes that, left unaddressed, could push the economy back into recession.

But despite the imminent deadline, CBS News National correspondent Chip Reid told CBS This Morning, "There just isn't the sense of urgency" in Washington that you might expect.

President Obama departed his Christmas vacation in Hawaii Wednesday morning to return to Washington and restart the stalled negotiations. He "wants Congress to take the lead," Reid explained.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid is "working on his own plan to get lawmakers to come together" that would allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire on household income in excess of $250,000 and replace the automatic spending cuts in the sequester with targeted, short-term spending cuts.

Meanwhile, the House, according to CBS's Reid, is waiting for the Senate to act -- a circumspect exercise in looking before leaping after last week's embarrassing "Plan B" fiasco, in which House Speaker John Boehner had to pull his "fiscal cliff" solution from consideration after it became clear that he did not have the support of his caucus.

Adding further complication to the situation, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's announced on Wednesday that the treasury will hit the $16.4 trillion borrowing limit on New Years Eve. 

And the wrangling over the "fiscal cliff" is already having an impact on the American economy, argued Time Magazine's Rana Foroohar on "CBS This Morning," pointing to weak holiday sales figures as evidence that uncertainty is crimping consumer spending. "You're already seeing retail stocks down...I think business is extremely worried."

The cliff's most immediate impacts, according to Foroohar, will be felt in the form of increased payroll taxes, which will hit almost every working American, and expired unemployment benefits.

Still, there is "one silver lining," said Foroohar: "If we go over the cliff, it's possible that will create a political recess" that could enable lawmakers to bridge the divide."

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