2.) Matt Bai says President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are, in some ways, “in stronger positions to sell a deal now than they were a year ago.” (I also recommend the quick video and the long article about who killed the debt deal in 2011.)
3.) Slate’s Matthew Yglesias says Boehner is bluffing.
The conceit here is the frankly bizarre idea that since Obama wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, he needs to engage in some kind of bargaining process. But this is silly. The Senate already passed a plan to extend the middle-class tax cuts. Now the choice before the House of Representatives is whether they want to vote to pass that plan before the new year or after the new year.
4. Jim Hoefler, professor of political science at Dickinson College, told me he expects rank and file lawmakers to follow their leaders on this issue.
“If Boehner cuts a deal, there will be enough Republicans and Democrats to pass it,” Hoefler said. “Because Obama’s not going to give up the store. Boehner’s not going to give up the store.”
5.) And for those of you who like the “five format,” Politico has five fiscal cliff scenarios — including, going over the cliff.
Even if the two sides can come to an agreement on how to handle income tax rates, they’ll have to develop a framework for comprehensive tax reform — and there’s almost no agreement on what that should look like.
While this debate is raging, Congress also has to deal with other items that aren’t getting a lot of attention but could cause big problems. The pricey alternative minimum tax, which will hit millions of upper-middle-class families, needs to be patched. House Republican leaders want to extend the nation’s farm policy. Corporate tax breaks are about to expire. There’s also the debt ceiling, which will need to be raised in early 2013. And don’t forget the automatic spending cuts to the Pentagon and domestic programs — known as the sequester — which both parties want to avoid but need to find a way to pay for.
For more on how this impacts York County, check out my story that appeared in Sunday’s paper.