Vice President Joe Biden is expected to meet with Senate Democrats at the Capitol Sunday to rally support for a fiscal cliff plan he's negotiating with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
However the timing of the meeting remains uncertain, according to a senior Democratic aide, because Republicans and Democrats are still divided over two key issues.
Republicans have asked to index the agreed-upon $5 million estate tax threshold to a measure of inflation, which would blunt its revenue impact over time. Democrats are strongly opposed to that proposition. By contrast, Democrats want to delay the automatic spending cuts in the so-called sequester for a year. But after a closed door Senate GOP conference meeting Monday night, Republican senators said the deal they'd been briefed on would delay the sequester by only two months -- just as the nation's debt ceiling will have to be lifted.
Moreover, the parties have yet to settle on a way to pay for any sequester phase out. Republicans want to finance the delay with cuts to other federal programs. President Obama and Democrats have insisted that dealing with the sequester will require a revenue component as well.
The aide said Senate GOP optimism is meant to position the Democrats to accept blame if the deal collapses.