This Is For Everyone Who Insists There Will Be A Big Budget Deal In The Lame Duck
Jake Sherman had an excellent story in Politico on Saturday (ht Mike Allen) about House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) latest thinking on what's doable and not doable on the budget during the lame duck session of Congress.
The answer is...not much, and maybe nothing.
Boehner basically told Sherman what I've been telling my clients for months: lame duck sessions of Congress in general and this lame duck session in particular are terrible times to be making major policy decisions. Not only isn't there much actual time (3-4 weeks of legislative work at most this year), but needing soon-to-be-retired and just-defeated House and Senate members to vote on big changes in taxing and spending is a dangerous thing for the leadership to do. Why? Because you can't be sure they will vote, and if they show up you can't be certain how they'll vote.
Boehner didn't mention one additional factor that makes a big budget deal in the lame duck less likely. As I posted about several weeks ago, the only way he may be able to remain as speaker is if he adamantly refuses to compromise on the fiscal cliff. I can't imagine the White House agreeing to anything if Boehner won't agree to prevent the cliff from kicking in.