With fiscal cliff negotiations going, in John Boehner's words, "nowhere," Republicans are considering what ABC News correspondent Jon Karl calls a "doomsday" contingency plan. Under the plan—which Karl's sources say "is becoming the most likely scenario"—the House would approve extending the middle class Bush tax cuts, but would agree to absolutely nothing else before the holiday recess, leaving President Obama to face massive spending cuts and another debt ceiling showdown as soon as Congress returned.
In other fiscal cliff news:
- Nancy Pelosi is threatening to use a maneuver called the "discharge petition" to bring the Senate's already-passed bill averting the cliff to the House floor whether Boehner likes it or not, CNN reports. Pelosi would then need to woo a handful of Republicans to her side to actually pass the bill.
- Congressional veterans tell Reuters not to worry about the apparent gridlock; it's well-established that little gets done on Capitol Hill until just before the holiday recess. "The Congress doesn't work on the clock," one GOP senator observes. "It works on the calendar."
- Boehner and Obama actually largely agree on the long-term portion of the deal, but they're miles apart on the short-term "down payment," the New York Times reports. Obama wants a large down payment paid for mostly with tax hikes on the wealthy; Republicans want a smaller one including entitlement cuts.
- The Times also has a piece observing that Obama has toughened his negotiating posture, after a first term in which he seemed to constantly offer what he considered compromises, only to have Republicans reject them and demand more.
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