by JAKE SHERMAN AND CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN, Politico
Time is running short — and so are the options available to avert the fiscal cliff.
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have just 21 days to resolve their differences over how to handle more than $500 billion in expiring tax rates and steep spending cuts.
Although they met Sunday for the first time in more than three weeks — signaling a new, potentially more productive stage of the negotiations — there was no progress on the staff level ahead of that sit-down, according to Democratic and Republican sources.
The White House and Capitol Hill are now staring at a narrow set of options fraught with political and policy peril. The course they choose will set the tone for the 113th Congress, Boehner’s speakership and Obama’s second term.