The witch is dead – the fiscal cliff deal has been signed, leaving the 113th Congress free to carve a new slate and agenda for 2013, returning their focus to creating jobs and resolving the deficit. Or is it? With just two months until the debt ceiling crashes into us again, top Republicans are taking the war to the airwaves.
Notably absent: after the December-end Plan B fiasco and a near-run on his speakership, a "battered" House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Expect him to avoid the media for a good week or two while he nurses his wounds.
Running damage control this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is making three separate talk show appearances (no rest for the wicked), the undefeatable bipartisan tag-team of Bowles-Simpson is back to make another case for their deficit reduction package, and a slew of freshmen legislators appear to make their agendas known to the nation.
NBC's Meet the Press: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the fiscal cliff and navigating the future of the GOP; former Senator and Campaign to Fix the Debt co-chairman Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform chairperson Erskine Bowles (D-N.C.) on the missed opportunity for a "Grand Bargain;" a roundtable with Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) on the debt ceiling, John Boehner and turmoil within the Republican Party.
CBS' Face the Nation: Another appearance by Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), this time opposite House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) – expect a huge square-off on the debt ceiling; incoming Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) will discuss their plans as incoming legislators; former Congressmen Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) and Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) will share their insights on current debt negotiations, and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) for a mysterious, unspecified purpose.
ABC's This Week: Mitch McConnell makes another appearance, talking with host Stephanopolous about the fiscal cliff deal and the GOP's plan for debt ceiling increases; profiles and interviews of three new legislators including Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas), and the named-for-Southern-politics Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.); roundtable on the fiscal cliff fiasco with ABC News' George Will, Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren, UC Professor and Clinton official Robert Reich, and ABC's chief White House reporter Jonathan Karl.
Highlights: McConnell said that Chuck Hagel will get a "fair" confirmation hearing if he's picked as defense secretary, but backed away from his previous praise of the nominee.
Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, was priased in 2009 by McConnell for his "clear voice and stature on national security and foreign policy." McConnell said that "I’m going to take a look at all of the things Chuck has said over the years and review that, and in term of his qualifications to lead our nation’s military... He certainly has been outspoken on foreign policy and defense over the years. The question we will be answering,if he is the nominee, is do his views make sense for that part job."
A terse interchange on the debt ceiling, with Think Progress claiming Stephanopoulous effectively 'fact checked' McConnell's claim that the discussion of increased revenue was off the table by mentioning $1.5 trillion was cut from the federal budget last year. Watch it:
Fox's Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: Wallace asks Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) if we're "in for more bare-knuckle politics and a finish at the bell;" an interview with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on the future of the Republican Party; and FNS panelists Brit Hume, Nina Easton, the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, and Washington Post columnist Charles Lane.
Highlights: Rep. Cruz reaffirmed that the Republicans will not be compromising further with President Obama, stating "I don't think what Washington needs is more compromise, I think what Washington needs is more common sense and more principle."
CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Interviews with number 2 Senate Dem Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and GOP heavyweight Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.); introductions to two freshman legislators, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.); a roundtable on the fiscal cliff with Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress, conservative economist Stephen Moore, CNN correspondent Dana Bash, and the New York Times’ Jackie Calmes.
Highlights: Graham threw cold water on plans to name Hagel as Defense Secretary, calling it an "in-your-face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel," and "an incredibly controversial choice." Weeks ago, Graham similarly claimed that Hagel is "well to the left of the president" and called his positions "really out of the mainstream."
CNN's GPS with Fareed Zakaria: Fareed explains not only how the fiscal cliff deal is "a small victory for sanity, but how the United States faces a much deeper challenge;" a panel of commentator including Anne-Marie Slaughter, Richard Haas and Ian Bremmer off their predictions for the year ahead; pundits Anatole Kaletsky and Lionel Barber on economic predictions; a special segment on Syria (the only show talking about it this week!) with economics professor Fawaz Gerges on how the rebellion against the Syrian government is far from over.
MSNBC's Up With Chris Hayes: Segments include the roadblocks behind Hurricane Sandy relief, a retrospective on the 112th Congress – "one of the least productive in history" – and the causes and consequences of firearms-related crime, as the Chicago murder rate shoots to an all-time peak. Guests include Taxpayers for Common Sense's Steve Ellis; Sayreville, N.J. resident and Hurricane Sandy victim Fran O'Connor; NAACP president and CEO Ben Jealous; radio host Esther Armah; Tio Hardiman of CeaseFire Illinois; newly elected Bronx/Queens Congressman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).