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The Senate has wrapped up its session for the evening without a vote on the Fiscal Cliff.It will reconvene at 11 AM tomorrow, just 13 hours before we hit the Fiscal Cliff, when taxes are scheduled to rise and spending cuts go into force.
It’s up for debate, as to whether it really matters if we get a deal now or in early January, but for now, the question remains: Will we hit the Cliff or not.
We asked him after today’s festivities whether he is still optimistic, and he says he is, and that he puts the odds of a deal at “2-1.”
The key development today, says West, is that Senate leadership has brought other Senators into the fold:
I’m looking for a deal to be announced overnight or in the morning. Leadership has now brought all their members into the loop so they will have ownership and little reason to complain about swift Senate action. The House is more of a wildcard but I bet if the White House and Senate get a deal, The House will pass it and stop the fiscal cliff before it starts.
Why does this matter?
The caucus briefings today were an opportunity for rank and file Senators to be brought into the process and understand what each side had put on the table. It’s no longer a secret one on one negotiation; some members might have had qualms about fast tracking the product of a totally private negotiation. Now swift passage of any deal will be easier, at least in the Senate.
And fundamentally, both sides really want a deal now:
Going through the deadline is bad for so many reasons that both parties want to avoid it. Today’s scramble demonstrates the power of the deadline. Obama doesn’t want to poison the well before his second term starts, and he doesn’t want to risk being blamed for economic damage or actually triggering a recession. Republicans know they will get much of the blame and fewer concessions–like a lower tax threshold– if they are viewed as causing a cliff crisis. And neither side truly believes a retroactive fix is that straightforward: there will be a new Congress, a sour political environment and no looming deadline to force action after the first of the year.
Ultimately he expects the tax threshold at $500K.