Fiscal Cliff's Great Last Hope: the Senate?

But Democrats would need assurances from Mitch McConnell

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 24, 2012 7:58 AM CST

(Newser) – With Plan B dead and gone, could Plan S save the day? The New York Times today shifts its attention from the gridlocked House to the Senate, following yesterday's plea by GOP Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Johnny Isakson to Senate leaders to make a scaled-back deal with President Obama. "We can’t let taxes go up on working people in this country," said Hutchison on Face the Nation. "It is going to be a patch because, in four days, we can’t solve everything." So is a solution possible? That's the hope, notes the Times, which nods at the fact that the Senate is run by Democrats and home to Republicans who are publicly promoting a deal.

The Times explains what it might come down to: Democratic leaders have indicated they will move forward ... but there are a few "buts." They say they'll only do so if they can get Sen. Mitch McConnell's pledge that any legislation won't be filibustered, and that John Boehner will have the House vote on it after it makes it through the Senate. But a rep for McConnell says, in the words of the Times, the minority leader can't "declare by fiat" that a bill would face no filibuster threat, and that doing so would mean McConnell would need to get the OK of all GOP senators. And considering the backlash that Boehner is facing, McConnell, himself up for re-election in 2014, may avoid doing anything that could direct Republican ire his way.

In this May 8, 2012, file photo Senate Minority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, with fellow Senate GOP leaders, speaks on Capitol Hill.
In this May 8, 2012, file photo Senate Minority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, with fellow Senate GOP leaders, speaks on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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