After a flurry of meetings, phone calls, member-to-member discussions and public jousting with Republican leaders, Democrats left Washington on Friday aware of two key facts: Both the House and Senate will eventually vote to allow the Bush tax cuts on upper-income earners to expire; but party leaders in neither chamber have a clear path to winning that vote. And more importantly, with the White House still pressing for a bipartisan solution that can pass before the end of the year, the only thing that's certain is that nobody has any clue what the final tax cut compromise will look like.
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Despite months of intra-party wrangling over how to proceed on tax cuts, House and Senate aides, speaking under the condition of anonymity, paint a picture of two chambers dramatically out of sync with one another. Senate Democrats and House Democrats alike continue to negotiate among themselves, with little understanding of what their counterparts are planning or can accomplish.