Washington feels like it’s reaching a point where anything is possible in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. Wednesday could bring more dueling press conferences, more stalemate, more political posturing or more signs that a deal is actually coming together.
House Speaker John Boehner rolled out a backup plan Tuesday that would extend Bush-era tax cuts on income up to $1 million and let rates rise above that level. The plan, however, would not stop the deep spending cuts that are set to trigger at the end of the year. He called it Plan B; House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi called it befuddled; and the White House called it rejected.
Meanwhile, Boehner said Plan B, which the House could vote on Thursday, is an alternative in case Republicans and the White House cannot reach a broader deal to avert the automatic tax increases and spending cuts that economists say could push the economy back into recession.
In other words, stay tuned for anything on Wednesday.
Otherwise, look for more members of Congress to stake out positions on gun control in wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 children dead. On Tuesday, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner—both Democrats rated "A" by the NRA—made statements suggesting the availability of assault weapons should be reviewed. Also, the National Rifle Association broke its silence on the shooting, denouncing the "horrific and senseless murders" and vowing to "help make sure this never happens again."
Also worth noting on Wednesday: The TIME Magazine Person of the Year will be announced, and the Senate will continue work on legislation providing $60.4 billion in disaster aid for Superstorm Sandy victims.
And then there is this: The Fix the Senate Now coalition holds a lobby day to urge senators to adopt “real reform” of Senate rules, including ending the filibuster on the motion to proceed and requiring senators who want to filibuster a bill to have 40 other senators with them. Coalition members include the Sierra Club, United Auto Workers, Common Cause, NAACP and AFL-CIO.