SAN JOSE, Calif.--The U.S. "fiscal cliff" negotiations should be
resolved within two weeks and entitlement reform addressed by
mid-2013, freeing legislators to reform the big technology-workforce
elephant in the room, immigration, a Washington lobbyist said this
Frank Kelly, head of communications and public affairs for the
Americas for Deutsche Bank, told an audience of industry executives
Thursday night (Nov. 29) that the political rancor in Washington is
muted right now, a promising sign for compromise.
"All these people have to get along. All these people have to not
insult each other too much. I think what you're seeing is the
insults are at minimum. That's an important thing to watch," Kelly
pictured right) said during the annual SIA awards dinner here at the Fairmont Hotel.
In recent days, various Republicans in Congress--though not in
leadership roles--are signalling willingness to compromise on taxes.
"That's giving comfort and encouragement to the speaker of the House
to come to that position and he will come to that position," Kelly said.
"I think you'll see a Bush tax cut extended six months to a year,
but the president's laid down a marker: everyone gets the extension
except millionaires," Kelly said.
Kelly said he expects a deal in the next 10-14 days, although "it's
going to be very ugly." If that timing fails, he expects a "bungee
jump" effect: "There's no deal before Christmas and then markets
tank; they all run back and between Christmas and New Year and they
get the deal," he said.
Moving into 2013, Kelly sees some version of the
commission recommendations adopted.
"You'll see taxes go up on the wealthy, you'll see the question
(resolved) of what happens to those between $250,000 and a million
(dollars)--that still has to be hammered out--and entitlements will
be on the table," Kelly said.
"Washington is sick of dealing with this. They want to move on;
Republicans want to move on … they understand there's a roadblock
and they are the roadblock," Kelly said.
They want to move on, in part, to tackle immigration reform.
Already, since the presidential election, three Republican
immigration-reform bills have been introduced into Congress, partly
because the GOP understands the its stance on immigration hurt the
party in the election.
"I moderated a panel with George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. It was
like interviewing Cheech and Chong. A huge portion of that
discussion--on their own--was immigration," and Bush and Clinton
were "finishing each other's sentences" on the topic, Kelly said.
"They talked about the importance of H-1B visas, to which Bill
Clinton pointed out--and you guys know--for every H1b visa, six new
jobs are created," he added.