I wish I could tell you that I have some idea about what is going to happen with the Fiscal Cliff, but I’m finding the whole subject impenetrable. None of the reporting is very helpful and it’s hard to read beyond the posturing of the principals’ public statements. One clue, however, I found in this The Hill article. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has informed members that they should return to Washington on Sunday in time to take votes beginning at 6:30pm.
When Speaker Boehner dismissed the House for the holidays, he said that he was not certain that they would return before the New Year. Why would he have them come back again to humiliate him some more? Yet, we now know that he has made the decision to force the 435 members to cut short their holiday with their families. He must expect something to pass, right?
I also noticed that Mitch McConnell was mumbling something about the president submitting some kind of plan. Yet, Harry Reid says he doesn’t think there are enough hours left in the year to hash out a deal.
Some kind of pared-down bill might pass at the last minute, but whatever negotiations that have actually gone on over the last week are not being discussed. It could be that Boehner is bringing back the House in more of a “just-in-case” than “get ‘er done” attitude.
I think the stakes for Boehner are quite high. He faces a vote on his speakership on January 3rd, and he isn’t going to be going into that vote a hero no matter what he does now. If he cuts a deal with the House Democrats and the administration, most of his caucus will be enraged, but if he doesn’t get a deal done, he’ll be seen as a totally ineffectual leader who doesn’t have the trust of his own party. Ironically, the latter scenario gives him a better chance to keep his job.