AS THE FISCAL CLIFF TURNS: We are speeding toward the cliff — and Congress is about to cut the brakes. Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner pulled his 'plan B' from the House floor before it got to a vote. Today, with neither side close to a potential deal, members of Congress are saying "Happy Holidays" and boarding planes and trains back to their home districts. Is Congress really taking almost a week off with such a serious crisis on its hands? 

STRANGERS WITHOUT TRUST: Back when Ronald Reagan was president and Tip O'Neill was House Speaker, the two would frequently meet after five o'clock to share a drink and bond as friends, which would help them pass major legislation together because of it. President Obama and Speaker Boehner are in the opposite situation — they have to pass major legislation but they do not know or trust each other. "The two men … are more familiar with each other as partisan foils than policy-making partners," write Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Julianna Goldman: Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Julianna Goldman for Bloomberg: Obama Meeting Boehner Reveals Strangers Without Trust

PRINCIPLED LEADERS: The next session of Congress will be missing some of the greatest leaders from the last few decades. The Washington Post Editorial Board highlights the accomplishments of Sens. Dick Lugar and Joe Lieberman saying that "both senators were known for valuing principle over party loyalty." No Labels supporter Linda Killian also wrote a piece about Sen. Olympia Snowe and Snowe's advice for more across-the-aisle solutions.

EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE: Both Democrats and Republicans are in the dark about what the other side truly wants in fiscal cliff negotiations, according to David Brooks. "If the two parties just knew a little more about each other we might have a deal on the 'fiscal cliff' already," he says: David Brooks for The New York Times: Strangers in the Night

NEED A DEAL NOW: Sen. Chris Coons is concerned about Washington's inability to reach a long-term solution for the fiscal cliff. "The best solution to our long-term economic challenges is a big, balanced, bipartisan solution that both reduces spending and raises revenue … For both parties, simply blaming the other side and waiting for the next election is no longer a tolerable strategy. The truth is, working together is not a sign of weakness, it’s a show of strength — and there is no time to waste," he says: Chris Coons for Delaware Online: Time for a balanced, bipartisan deal to avoid fiscal cliff

IT'S COMPLICATED: Christopher Breene says Boehner and Obama are stuck in "It's Complicated" status. "The inability to reach across the aisle in their "fiscal cliff" negotiations is yet another divisive political revelation by the two-party system America has grown into. Leadership in both parties has become increasingly oblivious to what the American public really wants, as both continue to offer rhetoric instead of genuine solutions," he writes: Christopher Breene for No Labels: Boehner and Obama, stuck in “It’s Complicated”

CITIZEN BLOG POST: No Labels supporters Jonathan and Nancy Lippincott wrote an article titled "Why Post-Partisanship Is Not Mush In The Middle" highlighting how both sides of the aisle can work together. Read it here: Jonathan and Nancy Lippincott for No Labels: Why Post-Partisanship Is Not Mush In The Middle

THE DAILY BREAK: Check out some of the best dog GIFs of all time.

ACTION OF THE DAY: Follow us on Twitter and retweet your favorite No Labels tweet.

STAT OF THE DAY: The economy is expected to grow at 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 and 1.7 percent in the first quarter of 2013, according to a survey of economists by The Wall Street Journal: Neil Shah for The Wall Street Journal: U.S. on Track to End Year At Tepid Pace

Written & edited by Kelsey McLaughlinCollin BerglundLauren Gilbert and Jack McCullough

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