Washington Daybook: Living on the Edge

President Barack Obama with Speaker of the House John Boehner during a meeting on Nov. 16 to discuss deficit reduction. Photograph by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

In “The Final Problem,” Sherlock Holmes battled his nemisis Professor Moriarty to the death on a cliff. President Barack Obama meets House Speaker John Boenhner for talks over the “fiscal cliff” today in a confronation that hopefully won’t end as tragically.

Tax questions will be at the forefront when Obama holds his first face-to-face conversation with Boehner since winning re-election. They’ll be joined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in discussing how to avoid automatic tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to take effect early next year.

After getting too close to the edge, former CIA Director David Petraeus is on Capitol Hill this morning, meeting behind closed doors with congressional committees probing the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

The House may take the plunge and vote on permanent normal trade relations with Russia today before members return to their home districts for the Thanksgiving holiday recess. The Senate is already out, scheduled to return to work on Nov. 26.

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