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The lame duck president

"Bush will try to work out a deal on spending with the new Democratic majority on Capitol Hill, but will be prepared to veto bills that exceed his total budget or that slice away at defense needs," Bush budget director Rob Portman tells the Washington Times.  Portman also suggests that "a center-right coalition could emerge on issues such as spending and extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts." 

Bloomberg's Kevin Hassett predicts that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's overtures to Democrats on fixing Social Security won't result in cooperation.  "What Paulson is about to learn is that it will be easy to get Democrats to the table on Social Security.  He need only let them write the legislation and agree to every term they dictate.  He can offer cosmetic face-saving measures that make the legislation look like a victory for the president.  But substantively, he will have to cave on everything." 

USA Today writes from the Texas border that the border fence "has come to reflect the disconnect between many landowners here and officials in Washington who see the project as a key part of the nation's strategy to slow illegal immigration.  Here, where the impact of illegal immigration is greatest, the fence is widely viewed as an economic and environmental threat...  The bill Bush signed does not include money to build the fence, and it's unclear how aggressively Congress will pursue the multibillion-dollar project once Democrats assume leadership of the House and Senate in January."