While we haven't yet seen a explicit resolution on the fiscal cliff, Democrats came out of Friday's meeting feeling very good about their chances of success. They feel there will be a deal and that it will be on Democratic lines: first and foremost there will be the end of the Bush tax cut for the rich.
"Top staffers are working on a fiscal cliff deal after leading Democrats emerged encouraged from a Friday White House meeting in which Republican leaders did not explicitly reject the suggestion they accept a Senate-passed bill that would allow tax rates to rise on top earners, leadership aides said."
"Democrats hope their bill, which would need to pass only the House, can serve as a “down payment” this year in a deal that would include agreement on a mechanism to enact tax and entitlement reforms next year."
“The real development from our standpoint is that we said we are absolutely clear that we are sticking to our position that the Senate bill is what is [going to] happen between now and Dec. 25th,” the Democratic aide said. “Notably, Republicans didn’t shoot that down.”
Mitch McConnell who has been a lot more defiant since the election than the voices coming out of the House-certainly Boehner as well as Lindsay Graham-mocked the idea that this shows the GOP plans to acquiesce.
"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spokesman Don Stewart mocked the suggestion GOP leaders' silence on Democrats’ suggestion is significant. “We didn’t rule out unicorns,” Stewart said. “We didn’t rule out building a cheese factory on the moon and Democrats didn’t rule out abolishing the EPA.”
Still, it's interesting that they did not rule it out of hand.
"Still, rather than flatly rejecting Democrats' suggestion, GOP leaders said that their staffs would work in the coming week on binding proposals to reform the tax code and get savings from entitlement programs, staffers said."
Note that even when disagreeing the GOP always phrases things in the terms of the President and the Democrats.
It is interesting that McConnell has been considerably more defiant than Boehner and the rest of the House. After the election it was McConnell that made the odd argument that the election didn't show the American people had accepted the President's agenda on the budget because they re-elected the GOP in the House.
Strange argument on a number of lines. For one thing losing 8 House seats hardly seems a victory. I guess these days that constitutes a GOP victory. Then too it's interesting that McConnell should be the one bragging about the House-while his body failed miserably on election night. It's almost because McConnell is in a defeated minority he has to talk a very big game, while the House GOP realizes that they have to speak conciliatory and that no matter the spin of McConnell and Grover Norquist,, the President does have a mandate.
It was none less than Bill Kristol who stated on Fox News that raising taxes on the very rich wouldn't kill anyone and that the GOP will have to capitulate to the President much more than they think: as they lost and elections have consequences.
P.S. Thinking again about Pat Buchanan's piece on the GOP right at the door of their graveyard, it's interesting to realize that the GOP hasn't had a good showing in election year elections in many years. Their victories have mostly come in off year elections. This magnifies Buchanan's point that starting with 1992 the Dems have been very strong: they only lost the popular vote once and have carried 18 states in all 6 elections and have a lock on most of the mega states-California, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, etc.