As the public's patience with partisan politics wears thin, signs in Washington indicate possible movement toward bipartisan budget decision-making. The House passed a bill which would fund government programs through this fiscal year on Wednesday. The Senate is expected to pass a similar measure soon. Also on Wednesday, President Barack Obama invited Republican Senators to dinner.
Resolving the fiscal cliff this year may require Speaker John Boehner to take to the House floor a deal that a majority of Republicans will reject – a move that could risk his speakership in the next Congress, says the Democrats' Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
The political and economic ramifications are too big for Washington to let the large tax increases and spending cuts take effect. But this doesn't necessarily mean lawmakers will craft a decisive solution to the nation's fiscal woes.