Congress will have to reach a deal on taxes and deficits this year -- right?

“The probability of a deal strikes me as pretty high, since no agreement would be such a disaster,” said Peter R. Orszag, President Obama’s former budget director.

Steve Bell, a longtime Senate Republican budget aide now at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said the White House and Congress “will not allow the sequester to occur and all the Bush tax cuts to expire. They’re going to be looking at each other on Nov. 20 and saying, ‘Well, what do you want to do?’”…

Former Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, a Republican who served on the Budget Committee, said the “working center in the Senate” remained the foremost reason to expect a compromise. But he doubted that Mr. Obama would accept the scale of change in Medicare that Republicans would require to accept tax increases.

“Everything’s in place except the president,” Mr. Gregg said.