If John Boehner fails to get a fiscal cliff deal done, a responsibility he's now put entirely on his own back, then he might have trouble on January 3rd when he's expected to be re-elected as Speaker of the House. A conservative group is angling to throw a monkey wrench in that process.
So, the fiscal cliff talks marched forward Thursday with little to no major progress made, depending on who you ask, towards getting a deal done. But the only people you could potentially blame for that are the President and Speaker Boehner, because they're the only two people in the room now. The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman and Peter Baker report the two have decided to exclude everyone else from the negotiating process. Boehner and Obama hold morning meetings with the appropriate subordinates every morning, filling them in on the latest details. While it complicates the lines of communication from the chiefs to the lieutenants, there is a very good reason for the decision. "But it also minimizes the number of people who need to say yes to an initial agreement," Weisman and Baker write.
For Boehner, the talks could have a significant say in his future on Capitol Hill, especially if he fails to get a deal. The Nation Journal's Billy House reports conservative group American Majority are trying to muster enough Republican support to block Boehner's nomination. Because of Jesse Jackson Jr.'s resignation, and some funny math bending, they only need to find 17 Republicans willing to vote "present" instead of the in the affirmative for Boehner and he'll be blocked. (This is assuming all of the Democrats vote for their nominee, Nancy Pelosi.) The scary part is there does seem to be some dissent growing within the Republican ranks, according to House's sources. American Majority are looking at a list of 100 Republicans they think might be into the idea. Again, they only need 17 Republicans to break rank. Boehner best get these negotiations moving, lest he be the one thrown over the cliff.