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Several Familiar Faces Get to Work On Solving the Fiscal Cliff Dilemma

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Lew is expected to play a role in the negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff.

SpeakerJohn A. Boehner’schief of staff has been with Boehner going back to 1997 and has an intimateknowledge of what Boehner wants and what the GOP leadership can accept —a key to any negotiation, according to his colleagues. “Sommers is a realpro who has built trust on both sides of the aisle for a long time,”Stombres said. “He knows Boehner in and out.” Sommers has had avariety of roles over the years, including policy director, and he also serveda stint on President George W. Bush’s National Economic Council. He hadrun Boehner’s leadership operation before being named chief of staff inJune. Other House GOP aides say that Sommers is widening the circle comparedwith 2011, when Jackson ran the show. Indeed, Boehner has said publicly thatthe process needs to be more open than it was in 2011. That means Sommers willhave a lot of cooks in his kitchen. Leadership is holding daily meetings andbringing in top leaders and senior lawmakers, including Budget ChairmanPaul D. Ryan, R-Wis., Waysand Means Chairman DaveCamp, R-Mich., and Energy and Commerce ChairmanFred Upton, R-Mich.

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