State of the (Would-Be) Deal

7:25 a.m. E.T.

From “Morning Joe”:

WILLIE GEIST: Are these guys talking to each other in a real, meaningful way? I know they put out the information that the President talked to John Boehner yesterday but are there real, behind-the-scenes, intense negotiations going on, as we’re now less than four weeks away from this thing?

MARK HALPERIN: In talking to people on both sides yesterday, they had an identical message, which is the other side isn’t ready to listen. They’re not ready to listen yet so we’re just kind of waiting until they’re ready to listen. That’s obviously not a great environment to move things along. The optimists on both sides think we’re going to get a deal, not by Christmas but by New Year’s. But if you ask people, Democrats and Republicans, what’s the next step, what gets things moving it’s still complicated and nobody has a consensus on that. The biggest challenge is how you strike a deal this year that has some things left undone for next year and there’s all sorts of people thinking about different kinds of triggers, different kind of things that say, “Well, if Congress doesn’t do X, then Y kicks in.” But there’s no agreement on what those need to be. There’s going to be more revenue but the things like entitlement reform, tax reform, those things are very unsettled.

WILLIE GEIST: As you said a little bit earlier, if he’s not in the room with these guys, if they’re not trying to broker a deal in the way that any of us would try to broker a deal with the clock ticking, how does this change? How does this dynamic change? With the White House and Tim Geithner saying yesterday that there is no deal, forget about it, without raising rates on the top two percent, who gives here?

MARK HALPERIN: Well, look, you got to give the President a lot of credit for his political smarts about what would the impact be, who’d win the election — he thought he was going to win — and what the impact of winning was. And one is business is on his side. As Joe suggested earlier, and Steve, business wants this deal. Business wants a major deficit reduction package and most business leaders are open to it as much on the President’s terms as on the Republicans’. That very nuanced New York Times story on John Boehner goes back to what, I think, is still the key. Boehner and the President — there are lots of other players here — they are the center of this and the question is, is Boehner working towards a deal that gets a majority of the majority in House? I don’t think that’s possible. I don’t think the President would support that deal on the politics or the policy. So, how does Boehner keep enough strength to get a deal in the room with the President that he’s confident he can get enough Republicans to join a significant number of Democrats, more Democrats, to pass the House. I think it’s up to Boehner, really, to decide if he’s willing to do that. If he sticks to saying this is a Republican majority deal in the House, I don’t think they’ll get a deal. But it’s the interaction between the President and Boehner, with business as much on the President’s side as Republicans, that’s going to make this happen.

Watch the video above.

Related Topics: Barack Obama, Fiscal Cliff, John Boehner, Mark Halperin, Morning Joe, MSNBC, Willie Geist, Analysis, Budget, Business, Congress, Democratic Party, Economy, House, News, Republican Party, Senate, The Page, Video, White House

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