From the piece:
All sources stress that it is still too early to make any pronouncements about the negotiations — aides to President Obama, Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have only held two substantive, opening round sessions.
And everyone agrees there are massive roadblocks still in the way of any sort of deal, ranging from Obama’s demand that upper tax rates go up to Republicans’ insistence that serious reforms be imposed on entitlement programs.
The downpayment-and-trigger combination would be a classic inside-the-beltway solution to an impossible political situation: push off a final decision for another year, agree to a set of benchmarks to measure negotiations and agree to, at least for now, a series of painful “triggers” designed to ensure a good faith effort.
And if it sounds familiar, it should — Congress and the Obama administration agreed to a similar, if less painful, agreement known as the “sequester” last year that ended up creating the fiscal cliff dilemma in the first place.