WASHINGTON, D.C. - Any hopes that lawmakers in Washington were close to avoiding falling off the fiscal cliff were dashed early on Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set the ominous tone right off the bat.
"We're going off the cliff," U of M Humphrey School Senior Fellow Jay Kiedrowski explained.
Kiedrowski, a one-time Minnesota Commissioner of Finance, has been closely following the developments, or lack of developments, in Washington lately.
"Compromise is difficult," he said.
And it's going to be difficult for more than a few days.
"This is pretty significant cliff that we're facing in terms of a series of economic choices over the next 6 weeks," Hamline University Political Science Professor David Schultz said.
Yes, there are more cliffs coming for congressional leaders.
"By the end of February, they need to increase the debt ceiling for the country to continue to pay for government expenditures. Then in the end of March, the appropriation for this year in Washington is coming to an end," Kiedrowski notes.
"Look to see this battle be fought all over again," Schultz warned.
"You could say there are four times during this year that they're going to be butting heads," Kiedrowski added.
By the end of September, lawmakers have to approve a budget for the following fiscal year so this fight over spending cuts and tax increases will likely drag on for months and months.
"I think the American public needs to think a lot harder about electing representatives that are willing to work with other representatives that have opposite views," Kiedrowski concluded.
Both Kiedrowski and Schultz predict that sometime in the near future, members of congress will put a band aid on middle class tax increases, at the very least.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)