Congressional Insiders Optimistic on Fiscal Cliff Deal
Despite being less than five weeks from the end of the year with no real compromise on revenue or entitlements in sight, both Republicans and Democrats largely believe that some sort of deal will be reached on the fiscal cliff. And it's not the only thing the two parties agree on, according to the latest National Journal Congressional Insiders Poll. The majority of Insiders also believe that if no deal is accomplished, Republicans have more to lose.
Seventy-three percent of Democratic Insiders said they believed a deal would be struck. "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," said one. "The stakes are too high to leave this undone."
Do you expect a deal by year's end to avoid the fiscal cliff?
Which party has more to lose if a deal isn't struck to avoid the fiscal cliff?
The sentiment was echoed by 85 percent of the Republican respondents, at least one of whom has the utmost faith in his leadership team.
"I refuse to believe that voting to extend most tax cuts that are set to expire amounts to raising taxes," he said. "Boehner will negotiate the best deal possible and thanks to the lesson they learned last December, Cantor, McCarthy and the majority of the GOP Conference will support it."
But neither side is so certain that whatever deal ultimately occurs will actually be the best one possible.
"It will be very bipartisan and very bad," said one Republican. "No significant spending cuts - and a marginal tax rate increase. Result: economy will drag into a recession."
And while not every respondent was quite as pessimistic, one theme came through from both sides of the aisle: "It may be more of a blueprint for the 'big deal' next year."
As far as Democrats are concerned, their colleagues across the aisle will get the blame if no deal is reached. Seventy-six percent of Democrats said the blame would fall on Republicans with the remaining 24 percent saying the blame would be shared equally. The word commonly used in response: "Obstructionist."
"Republicans have a serious risk of being seen as obstructionists if they refuse to work with Democrats to get this done," said one respondent.
Republicans weren't as quick to say they'd shoulder all the blame, but 30 percent said their party would suffer the most, and another 55 percent said that their party would share it equally with Democrats. The remaining 15 percent said Democrats would be perceived as at the most at fault.
"If we go over the fiscal cliff the GOP will look like they held 98% of the pubic hostage to protect the richest 2% whose taxes are going up anyway," said one Republican Insider. "Very dumb."