House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (above) and Speaker John Boehner recently met with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, but GOP sources say any discussions are being tightly kept at very high levels.
The reason? Twenty Democratic Senators are up for re-election in 2014, which would scare them off from allowing painful tax increases to go into effect.
The bipartisan discussions in the House, Norquist said, were largely "make believe."
"There are always a bunch of guys on the Senate side who can get on TV by announcing they're willing to be a part of the gang of whatever. Some of these guys are serial gang members. They just want to be in the room when there are television cameras there."
Another reason commonly cited by Republicans as to why the House has been quiet is that the outcome of the November elections could change the landscape of the lame duck completely.
"You can't begin negotiations when you don't know who you're going to be negotiating with," a GOP strategist said.