Right now, it's a stalemate. Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin's fiscal dreamboat, has declared that anything other than a full extension of the tax cuts for every American will be blocked by Congressional Republicans. That's backed up by Speaker-elect John Boehner's statement this afternoon, via his spokesman Michael Steel:
We made a pledge to America to permanently stop all of the tax hikes. That's what we'll fight for.Sen. Mitch McConnell agrees, partnering up with Sen. Jim DeMint to insist that it really is all-or-nothing. Democrats are now in a frenzy. They can't let the tax cuts expire without doing anything, but they also can't stomach the idea that tax cuts will be given to the rich under their watch. They also know if they simply sit back and let the cuts expire for everyone, they'll be doing precisely what got them voted out of office three weeks ago.
Both Pelosi and Reid have laid the law down during a conference call on Monday, saying that they won't make a move until Obama tells them what to do. Unfortunately, that's not working out so well for them. Politico:
Obama’s repeated insistence that he would drive the hardest possible bargain – while signaling his openness to a compromise that includes a temporary extension for high-income taxpayers — has angered some in his party who claim he’s weakening Democrats’ efforts to force concessions from Republicans.
“Give us the playbook – or even an inkling of what you want to do and how you want to do it,” said one congressional Democrat involved in crafting the tax-cut strategy.