The pressure on Congress is building, says Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. The portents of a fiscal train wreck have induced some of his Senate colleagues to believe that fixes made in a lame-duck session will come too late to prevent an economic downturn.
"There are people sitting down and looking at the numbers and saying, 'I don't think this issue can wait until December,' " Rubio says.
The "fiscal cliff"--that confluence of budget cuts and tax hikes due to strike at the end of the year--is spurring defense contractors and other businesses to prepare for losses and layoffs. "As those layoffs start coming in, you're going to start to see the impact of that on unemployment and on economic growth," Rubio says. "I think most now understand that while we have an election in November, the impact of this may be felt in September, and none of us are going to look good if that happens."
Included in the Senate reckoning, Rubio says, is a growing belief that the United States needs a balanced package of spending cuts and increased revenue. "There is a consensus you can't only cut your way out of this," he says.
But if the Senate is arriving at that consensus, the House is not. The Republicans there have their own convictions about what's ailing America and how to fix it. They're not budging, and supporters see a kind of nobility in their obduracy.
"Here is how I explain this to my liberal clients," says Republican pollster Bill McInturff. "If you celebrate the Democratic 'heroes' who voted for health care in 2010 because they thought it was the right thing to do for the country, despite the electoral risks, you need to provide equal regard and respect for the House Republican caucus--because that's what they are doing. They fundamentally believe this country is in grave peril, and they are doing what they think is right," McInturff says.Subscribers can read more here.