This week, Congressional leaders are due to meet with President Obama in The White House for talks about resolving the so-called Fiscal Cliff, the series of tax hikes and spending cuts that will go into force on January 1 if there's no change to current law.
However, even before this happens we're already learning a lot.
For example, John Boehner reportedly held a conference call with his house caucus telling them that although the GOP would resist any efforts by Obama to raise taxes, this was not the time for a brutal showdown, a la the debt ceiling fiasco from last year. Not only that, Boehner apparently didn't get much resistance. This seems like a good sign for a deal getting done.
And in fact "conciliatory" is the meme of the moment, as other folks in Congress expressed similar optimism about a deal getting done.
Interestingly, one of the biggest early roadblocks may not come from the raucous GOP house, but rather Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate.
Republican Senator Minority Leader McConnell hasn't been as conciliatory as Boehner re the fiscal cliff; McConnell conducted a long interview w/the WSJ this weekend and while he said a fiscal deal is certainly possible Republicans weren't going to countenance higher tax rates. McConnell said he doesn't trust the White House on fiscal matters after the break-down of 2011's "grand bargain" deal. McConnell wants all the Bush rates extended for another year as a "bridge" w/negotiations taking place in 2013 on comprehensive reform. WSJ http://goo.gl/aiTeB
One thing to know about McConnell is that he faces re-election in 2014, and therefore a possible Republican party primary challenge.
Finally over the weekend, we had writer Bill Kristol asking why the GOP was falling on its sword for millionaires, a quote that got quite a bit of play, as a conservative wondering why taxes can't go up a little bit on the rich is interesting.
Kit Juckes of SocGen has a good line on how he sees things: "You can't be sure there won't be an outbreak of narrow-minded thinking but I remain ludicrously optimistic that the US can avoid the Cliff Crisis, and surprise on the upside on terms of growth in the New Year."
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