Joseph I. Lieberman is leaving the U.S. Senate in only three weeks, but he said Monday that he’s hoping that the Congress can reach a deal on taxes and spending in order to avoid the fiscal cliff.
If Congress fails to reach a deal, taxes would automatically increase – something that many politicians want to avoid. The fiscal cliff was created to force the two sides to reach an agreement, and most insiders initially believed that there was no way that Congress would go over the cliff because there is widespread fear that the failure would lead to another recession.
“I hope with the meeting at the White House [on Sunday] between the president and the Speaker of the House, that that’s the beginning of a breakthrough, and that we’ll have some kind of an announcement soon,” Lieberman told reporters Monday morning. ”I repeat, President Obama and Speaker Boehner are both in strong positions within their own parties and among the members of their own caucuses in Congress. If they agree on something, I believe we will adopt it.”
Lieberman made his remarks in what likely will be his final press conference at the state Capitol in Hartford, where he served in the state Senate for 10 years after winning election in 1970.
Longtime Democrat Roy Occhiogrosso greeted Lieberman on Monday morning, barely an hour before Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made the surprising announcement that Occhiogrosso would be leaving the governor’s office. Some insiders thought that Occhiogrosso would leave after about six months – soon after Malloy’s first legislative session was over. But he stayed for two years.
Lieberman described Occhiogrosso as “a great friend and a great adviser.”
Occhiogrosso, 47, had advised Lieberman during the failed primary battle against Greenwich cable TV entrepreneur Ned Lamont in August 2006.
Lieberman and his staff are already preparing to move out of the office on the 7th floor of the Hart Senate office building in Washington, D.C.
“I think Chris Murphy will be a great addition to the team,” Lieberman said. “We’re ready for a seamless transition at noon on January 3.”