Colorado's freshman Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is working with a Republican icon from Tennessee on a plan to overhaul the tax code and reform entitlements such as Medicaid and Medicare.
Bennet's partnership with Sen. Lamar Alexander, spawned during the lead-up to the current debate to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff," has resulted in legislative language aimed at helping President Barack Obama and congressional leadership if they fail to reach accord before Christmas...
Most political observers say the conversations about tax rates and tax and entitlement reform must be forced into the same conversation so both sides feel satisfied enough to vote yes on a deal.
"There is a lot of distrust built up over the years on both sides. They'll have to be done at the same time," said Steve Bell, a senior director of economic policy at the D.C.-based Bipartisan Policy Center. "Republicans will say, 'We'll give on tax increases, but if we do, we'll never see spending cuts.' ... They're going to have to work together to find a deal."