Once-robust talks between aides to Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Boehner have all but ceased. Obama spent the last few days in Hawaii, golfing and spending time with his family. Congress is nowhere to be seen.

As of Christmas Day, House members had not received the standard 48-hour warning to come back to Washington to resolve the so-called fiscal cliff. The reasoning is simple, aides say: Boehner and other GOP leaders aren’t going to herd 433 lawmakers back to town with nothing to do…

Senate Democrats and the White House are now pushing a bill the Senate passed in July as little more than a messaging vessel. The only House vote came in August, when Republicans and 20 Democrats passed a bill to extend all Bush-era tax rates. That bill was never taken up by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

It’s not as if this crept up on national leaders – these deadlines were set as long as two years ago.