At this stage of the game, we need a "stop gap" measure. There is NO WAY that the complexities of cuts in things like Medicare can be negotiated in a few hours._________________But it's not a few hours, it's been over a year. The reason we are at this point is because of several stop gaps. They could pass Simpson/Bowles, the Ryan Plan, the Obama Plan, Plan B, the Senate verison, the House verison or tweak any of them in about 30 seconds. This isn't new or a surprise. A stop gap is just kicking the can down the road again. It's not as complex as you think, and these guys have been dealing with this for a long time. It's just a question of will Obama agree to any cuts because clearly if he does the votes are there for tax increases.
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