November 9, 2012
The House returns to session next week, with first votes scheduled for Tuesday. As you know, a great deal of work awaits, most notably, how to address the so-called fiscal cliff. Sequestration, the expiring Bush tax cuts, the Alternative Minimum Tax and a host of other issues are all part of that package and all are awaiting action with deadlines fast approaching.
I have heard many people refer to the results on Tuesday as affirming the ďstatus quoĒ. At its most basic level, those who hold this view are right. President Obama will be back for a second term, the House remained in Republican control and the Senate remained in Democratic control.
It is not unreasonable to think that nothing will change because the balance of power in Washington hasnít changed much. But I am returning to Washington next week with hope that compromise, at least on some items, is attainable. I am encouraged by some of the rhetoric on both sides of the aisle and I think that finally, most Members of Congress recognize it is time to talk seriously about resolving many of these issues. There really isnít any other option.
It might be necessary to pass extensions of some expiring provisions in order to finish work on them. Itís not my preferred approach, but if it means achieving a resolution that represents a true compromise, I can live with it.
I wonít really have a full assessment of the chances for measurable progress until I am back in Washington. I will report back and let you know what I think.
As the lame duck session of Congress begins, I want to thank you again for your interest in this newsletter.