It will be a race to see who can find their "sea legs" first, James Carvillle told me this morning, because he doesn’t see a lot of common ground between the two parties.
“There are some reasons why [Democrats] can be successful, the White House is more unified, it is easier to do,” the democratic strategist said. “The Republicans are going to be split.”
The two parties face their first challenge when they return – finding a compromise on tax cuts. Yesterday President Obama signaled a willingness to negotiate but former Republican leader Dick Armey thought the entire extension could get through.
“The package that gives full extension is what will pass the House,” Armey said. “We don’t have time to quibble about this a whole lot but my guess is that it would then be quickly taken up by the Senate and passed onto the president.”
Carville suggested the two parties agree on smaller pieces of legislation first and then moving onto bigger agenda items, such as possibly raising the debt ceiling – otherwise the government risks defaulting.
Yesterday Senator-elect Rand Paul told me he wouldn’t rule out blocking the debt limit – but today Armey threw out an idea for compromise.
“I think everybody is realistically aware that the debt ceiling must be raised and that is the fact that derives from past fiscal imprudence,” he told me. “So I would think that what the strong government conservatives in the Congress would say is, ‘We will work with you on this but we do need to have some demonstration n your part of a renewed commitment to fiscal responsibility going forward.’”