Insiders: Fiscal Cliff Likely To Be Averted

Ben Terris and Peter Bell

Do you expect a deal by year’s end to avoid the fiscal cliff?

DEMOCRATS (22 votes)

Yes: 73%
No: 27%


“At least I hope so. But Grover Norquist still calls the shots for a majority of Republicans.”

“But not a permanent deal, just something to kick it down the road a bit.”

“I expect a postponement on sequestration, but not a total solution. Not as sure on the tax expirations.”

“Although it might slip into January.”

“As we get closer to year’s end, we’re more likely to get a deal.”

“But only a partial deal that will hold us over until a full deal can be negotiated early next year.”

“I’m hopeful that both sides of the aisle can still work together to solve our country’s biggest problems.”


“[If] the president and the speaker want a deal badly enough, we’ll get one. I think they do.”

“We haven’t reached a deal in the past because Republicans have been intransigent about putting revenues on the table. But now with defense cuts, Republicans finally have incentive to negotiate.”

“Yes. I think the president, both parties, their leadership, and especially the federal agencies realize the heavy price we will all pay if a deal is not reached. The stakes are too high to leave this undone.”


“Republicans won’t raise taxes. Democrats won’t let the president gut Social Security and Medicare.”

“No. These guys couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag.”

“There’s no reason to cut a bad deal this month, and that’s all the Republicans will offer.”


Do you expect a deal by year’s end to avoid the fiscal cliff?

REPUBLICANS (22 votes)

Yes: 85%
No: 15%


“The president understands that another recession on his watch is bad for his legacy.”

“A framework will be in place and agreed to; the next Congress will be responsible for passing it.”

“I refuse to believe that voting to extend most tax cuts that are set to expire amounts to raising taxes. John Boehner will negotiate the best deal possible, and thanks to the lesson they learned last December, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and the majority of the GOP Conference will support it.”

“I’m an optimist, and that is the reason I can serve in Congress and still sleep at night.”

“It will be very bipartisan and very bad. No significant spending cuts—and a marginal tax-rate increase. Result: Economy will drag into a recession.”

“The Dec. 31, 2012, deadline is fast approaching, and Congress must act to avert the fiscal cliff and prevent across-the-board cuts that will bring about certain economic unrest.”

“This is an invaluable opportunity for Congress and the president to get serious about overcoming partisan differences and enact policies that grow the economy and get the national debt under control. We stand ready to work with the president to find common ground on tax, spending, and entitlement reform to prevent the imminent fiscal cliff without damaging the economy.”

“We’ve heard a lot of talk about revenues, but we have not heard much about spending cuts.”

“The only thing worse than the fiscal cliff is kicking the can down the road again. If Obama comes up with reasonable spending cuts, a deal happens.”

“Yes, although it may be more of a blueprint for the ‘big deal’ next year.”


“The president is not yet serious. He thinks he has a mandate but doesn’t realize he needs to compromise if a deal is going to get done.”


Which party has more to lose if a deal isn’t struck to avoid the fiscal cliff?

DEMOCRATS (21 votes)

Republicans: 76%
Democrats: 0%
Both: 24%


“Their intransigence against extending middle-class tax cuts and asking the rich to do their fair share is stunning.”

“Obama won reelection; the people have spoken about whom they trust most.”

“The Republicans’ ‘brand’ as the party of fiscal brinkmanship is well established, for good reason.”

“The American people know that the Republicans have been obstructionists, and they have more to lose.”

“Republicans are likely to be blamed if a deal isn’t struck, because they have been and will continue to be perceived as the obstacle to a deal by the public. Tea party Republicans in the House are still refusing to support a rise in rates for the wealthy. President Obama has expressed flexibility, as have most House and Senate Democrats. John Boehner is still insisting that he needs a majority of the majority for a deal, which leaves him at the mercy of the tea party.”

“The American people have sent a clear message that they support the president’s and Democrats’ balanced approach. If Republicans kill a sensible deal because they’re afraid of Grover Norquist, they’ll be responsible for the damage a recession will do to our economy.”

“What part of Nov. 6 does the GOP not get?”

“The Republicans have more to lose, because they have been so resistant. The national perception of the Republican Party could get even worse if a deal isn’t struck.”

“Republicans, especially. Obstruction is ‘out.’ Compromise is ‘in.’ ”

“Republicans have a serious risk of being seen as obstructionists if they refuse to work with Democrats to get this done.”


“Real people don’t distinguish between ‘R’ and ‘D’—just the people here in Oz do.”

“Voters are tired of the ‘blame game.’ They want results. Both parties will share responsibility if no reasonable deal is struck. Both will share in the credit if a realistic, comprehensive deal is agreed to.”

“Voters are tired of excuses and polarization. They want compromise in the middle.”


Which party has more to lose if a deal isn’t struck to avoid the fiscal cliff?

REPUBLICANS (20 votes)

Republicans: 30%
Democrats: 15%
Both: 55%


“Speaker Boehner must not be the only Republican willing to restore the brand and credibility of his party. November showed Republicans their shrinking base will win fewer elections, not more.”

“If we go over the fiscal cliff, the GOP will look like they held 98 percent of the public hostage to protect the richest 2 percent, whose taxes are going up anyway. Very dumb.”

“Republicans have more to lose—as they are about to abandon their commitment to voting against tax increases.”

“We could sky-write our proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff above the White House—and if Obama said that House Republicans were being intransigent, it would be taken as gospel, and we would get blamed.”

“Obama has the bully pulpit; he won [the election], people want the two sides to work together, and we must.”


“Increases in tax rates would be bad for the economy, but ultimately the president bears responsibility for the economy, and he will bear the brunt of the damage.”

“The president is the leader, and he has to lead. It’s incumbent upon him not to be political, but to lead.”


“Bad policy is bad politics, and with divided government there will be enough blame to go around.”

“Averting the looming fiscal crisis and helping our hardworking families should not be the concern of one party or one body of Congress. As leaders in Washington, we must work together to do the job the American people have sent us to Congress to do and address our nation’s economic challenges to provide certainty to American families and businesses.”


Democratic Congressional Insiders Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Christopher A. Coons, Mark Pryor, Tom Udall; Reps. Jason Altmire, Robert Andrews, Tammy Baldwin, Karen Bass, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Lois Capps, Michael Capuano, Dennis Cardoza, James Clyburn, Gerry Connolly, Joseph Crowley, Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Elliot Engel, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Marcy Kaptur, Jim Langevin, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Ed Markey, Jim McGovern, Jim Moran, Gary Peters, Collin Peterson, David Price, Linda Sanchez, Kurt Schrader, Allyson Schwartz, Jose Serrano, Bennie Thompson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Henry Waxman, Peter Welch, and Frederica Wilson.

GOP Congressional Insiders Sens. Johnny Isakson, Richard Lugar, David Vitter; Reps. John Boehner, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, John Carter, Tom Cole, Mike Conaway, Jeff Denham, David Dreier, Sean Duffy, Jo Ann Emerson, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Trey Gowdy, Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Nan Hayworth, Tim Huelskamp, Mike Kelly, Peter King, Jack Kingston, Adam Kinzinger, John Kline, Dan Lungren, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Patrick McHenry, Candice Miller, Sue Myrick, Devin Nunes, Tom Price, Dave Reichert, Reed Ribble, Phil Roe, Paul Ryan, Aaron Schock, David Schweikert, Austin Scott, Adrian Smith, Steve Stivers, Lee Terry, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, Daniel Webster, and Joe Wilson.

This article appeared in print as "Congressional Insiders Poll."