News outlets set the scene for President Barack Obama's meeting today with lawmakers. Both sides say they want a deal, but privately, some Democrats acknowledge they would rather go over the cliff than accept a deal that raised too few taxes while cutting Medicare and Medicaid. Some Republicans feel that way about tax increases.
Politico: Opening Gambit On Fiscal Cliff Negotiations
After months of talking about the fiscal cliff publicly, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans finally expect to get down to business privately on Friday. Sort of (Budoff Brown and Sherman, 11/15).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Analysis: Both Sides Talk Compromise On Fiscal Cliff, Without Significant New Concessions Yet
When President Barack Obama greets congressional leaders at the White House on Friday, an elaborate set of postelection rituals will be complete. Yet divided government's ability to attack the nation's economic woes is no clearer now than it has been for months. In talks that came close to a deal in 2011, Obama said he was willing to make significant cuts in the growth of benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid, infuriating liberals. Boehner spoke of as much as $800 billion in new revenue, angering conservatives. The talks eventually collapsed (11/15).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama On Tricky Path In Fiscal Cliff Negotiations With Congressional Leaders
President Barack Obama is kicking off budget dealings with congressional leaders with new leverage from last week's big win, but he confronts a decidedly tricky path to avoiding a market-rattling "fiscal cliff" that could imperil a still-fragile economy. Obama's GOP rivals promise greater flexibility on new tax revenues, but Democrats face pressure from liberal interest groups urging the president to take a hard line and avoid cutting big benefit programs like Medicare and food stamps. It's up to Obama to navigate the course toward an agreement (11/16).
The New York Times: Demystifying The Fiscal Impasse That Is Vexing Washington
Well, it's complicated -; the so-called cliff, that is. And most solutions are politically painful. … Q. What spending would be cut? A. An emergency unemployment-compensation program is expiring, which would save $26 billion but end payments to millions of Americans who remain jobless and have exhausted state benefits. Medicare payments to doctors would be reduced 27 percent, or $11 billion, because this year Congress has not passed the usual so-called "doc fix" to block the cuts, which otherwise are required by a 1990s cost-control law (Calmes, 11/15).
The New York Times: Senate 'Gang Of 8' Says This Isn't Its Moment In Deficit Talks
After years of wrangling, members of the bipartisan group of senators known as the Gang of Eight are ratcheting back expectations for a deficit reduction breakthrough and now say the best they can probably do is offer ideas for the one fiscal negotiation that will truly matter: talks between President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner that begin in earnest on Friday. … Both sides insist they want a deal before January, but a rising chorus of voices, especially Democrats, say they would rather go over the cliff than accept a deal that raised too few taxes while extracting too many cuts, especially to Medicare and Medicaid. The search for a deal before January is off to a slow start. Rob Nabors, the president's chief liaison to Congress, came to the Capitol early this week to meet with Mr. Boehner's chief of staff, Mike Sommers. But little groundwork was done ahead of Friday's meeting (Weisman, 11/15).
A California poll offers a snapshot of public opinion related to the deficit negotiations -