At this time, neither the Republican party nor the Democratic party are capable on their own of passing Grand Bargain legislation that will not only address the fiscal cliff in a long-term manner but will also dispose of the looming debt ceiling crunch in two months. And it would seem increasingly unlikely to achieve such a goal with the current partisan leadership in the House.
If Boehner and Pelosi were both to step aside, that would open the door to a bipartisan leadership coalition, who would nominate a candidate for Speaker from their own ranks. We know that the door has been opened in that regard. Republican Representative Mike Simpson and Democratic Representative Heath Shuler are circulating a letter calling for a bipartisan solution, and this letter agrees to major provisions sought by both parties. Simpson and Shuler report that they have about forty signatures apiece from both parties, and are prepared to release those names at the appropriate time. I suggest that these eighty representatives can form the nucleus of a coalition in the House that builds out from the center rather than from the left or the right.
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