The latest information has come down to a couple of things that the Republicans are using to stop the negotiations. The Roll Call has this to say, in part:
It is not a condition of this deal for me and most Republicans to adjust CPI. I don’t know where that came from,” he said. “There is a crucial mass of 80 senators who would vote to fix the [alternative minimum tax], the doc fix, extend unemployment insurance, protect everybody $500,000 and below from a tax increase. There’s 80 senators that will do that without CPI.”
Democrats said they were surprised by the effort by Republicans to include a chained CPI, saying they thought there was a mutual understanding that the proposal would not be on the table unless a debt limit increase was also part of the bargaining.
That left it unclear whether leaders would have any sort of deal in hand when they caucused with their members later Sunday or where they would go if the contours of an agreement were not emerging
It also appeared more likely that House GOP leaders may prefer not to vote on any deal until Jan. 2, when any agreement would technically represent a tax cut after rates rise on Jan. 1. A lobbyist with knowledge of the negotiations said he has heard that the GOP does not want to vote on a plan until the new year.
One of them is the chained Consumer Price Index. To understand it, if you don't here is a short version Ed O'Keefe on December 17, 2012 in the Washington Post. An excerpt from the explanation.
As for taxes, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has calculated that most Americans would pay a little more than $100 more per year. Families making between $30,000 and $40,000 a year would see the biggest increases — almost six times that faced by millionaires — but that’s because upper-income Americans are already in the top bracket and not being pushed into higher marginal rates because of changing bracket thresholds.
All told, chained CPI would lead to a larger across-the-board cut in Social Security benefits and a 0.19 percent income surtax, according to experts. Those changes could make the proposal politically unpalatable for some, which is why some budget watchdog groups have argued that the only fair way to implement such a change would be to couple it with an increase in Social Security benefits and to exempt Supplemental Security Income, which provides support for impoverished elderly, disabled and blind people.
Clearly, the Republicans are not wanting to negotiate on anything before the Debt Ceiling. Once again, bringing the US to a goal post that never should have been approached and the sequester will go into effect.
I hope that State legislators are paying attention to their Congressional counterparts in the US Congress. :)