How much ground are Republicans really willing to give to President Obama to avoid the fiscal cliff? We probably will not know the answer to that question until late December. But we will get a preview today when House Republicans elect a new Conference Chair.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has not officially endorsed Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., for the spot, but she is widely viewed as his top pick and Boehner did offer her opponent, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., the largely ceremonial spot of Elected Leadership Council chairman, if he agreed to step aside. Price declined and the election will be held this afternoon.

Price, a former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), is backed by the more conservative wing of the House Republican Caucus. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. (who was just elected governor of Indiana) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, also both former RSC chairs sent a letter to colleagues endorsing Price Friday. And then yesterday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., also weighed in on the race.

“I have had the privilege of working with Congressman Price on a myriad of different issues over the years, and I know he is uniquely qualified for the job of Conference Chairman,” Ryan wrote in a letter to colleagues sent yesterday. “He was instrumental in drafting our House Republican budget. His vocal leadership on issues like health care, tax reform, and fiscal matters has been vital to our messaging and policy efforts.”

Ryan and the RSC were instrumental in keeping Boehner from giving Obama his “Grand Bargain” on tax hikes in the summer of 2011. If Boehner is able to defeat them today, it could be a sign he will prevail later this year when he presents the conference with whatever deal he has made with Obama on the fiscal cliff.

From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Obama believes ‘balanced’ means more spending, higher taxes
Michael Barone: To win, Obama sacrifices House, state legislatures
Tim Carney: Liberals seek cooperative Republicans, find K-Street-friendly corporatists
Sean Higgins: Texas going blue? Not so fast, pardner…

In Other News
The Washington Post, Obama to open talks with $1.6 trillion plan to raise taxes on corporations, wealthy: President Obama plans to open talks using his most recent budget proposal, which sought to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy by $1.6 trillion over the next decade.
Pew, Public Is Skeptical Deal Will Be Reached: Fifty-one percent of Americans believe no deal will be reached on the fiscal cliff, and 53 percent say they plan to blame Republicans.
The Wall Street Journal, Companies Warn About Cutbacks: Some big American companies are making plans to slow investments, lay off workers and pay less-generous dividends if Congress and the Obama administration don’t find a way to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
The Washington Post, FBI investigating how Petraeus biographer Broadwell obtained classified files: The FBI is making a new push to determine how a woman who had an affair with retired Gen. David H. Petraeus when he was CIA director obtained classified files.
The Hill, Pelosi dodges questions about leadership plans in next Congress: Rep. Nancy Pelosi will announce on Wednesday whether she’ll retain her position as House Democratic leader next year.
McClatchy Newspapers: Libyan officials acknowledge they’ve arrested no suspects in Benghazi consulate attack: Two months after the American ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in assaults on U.S. facilities here there have been no arrests of suspected attackers, and Libyan officials say it is unlikely any will be made anytime soon.
Tri-City Herald, Washington becomes 42nd state to allow charter schools: after rejecting them in in 1996, 2000 and 2004, Washington voters have narrowly approved an initiative last Tuesday allowing 40 charter schools over the next five years.

Righty Playbook
Avik Roy explains why Obamacare will be the last entitlement.
Mickey Kaus dissects the Americans for Tax Reform amnesty plan.
After National Journal reported that he was open to a new carbon tax, Grover Norquist reiterated that he opposes carbon taxes.

Lefty Playbook
Talking Points Memo explains why liberals are against raising revenue by closing loopholes.
The Washington Post calls for more stimulus spending instead of the fiscal cliff.
Think Progress notes that corporations calling to ‘Fix The Debt’ want $134 Billion in tax breaks.