The Ohio Republican is set to brief the House GOP Conference on the status of his closely held negotiations with President Barack Obama since conceding an increase on tax rates for millionaires, a risky move by the speaker. Boehner is not going to present a deal to the conference, but their reaction to his briefing will go a long way in determining whether Boehner can strike a deal with the White House to avert the fiscal cliff and put the nation on more solid fiscal footing. …

The outcome of Boehner’s talk with the Republican Conference may not only define the final two weeks of this year, it could shape his legacy as a speaker.

To reach a deal, Boehner is going to have to overcome a lot of doubts among his conservative, tea party-driven members, some of whom would rather go over the fiscal cliff than concede on any increase in tax rates. The 2001-2003 Bush tax rates will expire on Dec. 31 if Congress and the president take no action, and taxes will jump back to the Clinton-era levels for all Americans. Tens of billions of dollars of spending cuts will also kick in for the Pentagon and other federal agencies.