I knew you were wondering how they were synthesizing all this budget talk. What could be more important right?
Here's Dana Bash, Ed Henry, John King and Gloria Borger to fill us in. Dana Bash explained that one of the biggest divides in the impending Grand Bargain is around taxes and tax cuts, with a large group of Republicans coming out today saying they will not agree to any tax increases whatsoever.
We pick it up with John King:
King: There are some Republicans Saxby Chambliss for one, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma for another, who come to mind, who say "I don't want tax increases, I don't like tax increases, but it that's what I have to pay, if I have to get modest tax increases as long as I get other things, as long as I get spending cuts, I get changes to Medicare, changes to social security ..."
Borger: Right, right ...
[Chambliss has not actually signed on to "modest tax increases" he's signed on to "raising revenue" which is not the same thing in this debate and relies on magical thinking about loopholes --- and tax cuts! -- ed]
King: Does the President have any, do any of us, have a realistic belief that they will cut a big deal now or are we likely to have a big debate and carry this into the 2012 presidential cycle.
Henry: Sounds more like a big debate that carries on. Now obviously there are some impending problems here, the debt ceiling and lifting that by May 16th. As part of lifting that Speaker Boehner is saying "look you've got to put some deficit reduction on the table" so some event like that may force the president's hand, may for both parties, frankly, to do something, but I think it's much more likely to be a 2012 issue and here's a reason why: the day after the big speech, where's the president going? he's going to Chicago. he going to officially launch the fundraising for 2012. So even if they say it's not about politics, within 24 hours, he's out on the campaign trail.
Borger: But here's something that came out of those negotiations John that came out the government to avoid the government shutdown. I was talking to a senior White House adviser who said to me when I asked him what he learned about John Boehner. And he said, "what I learned about the House Speaker is that he knows how to negotiate. That he played it close to the vest. That he didn't talk to his caucus about all the details until he had to. And the we liked negotiating with him. That he was a good tough negotiator." So ironically, the administration that has promised openness is going to cut its deals in private because that is the way they work the best.
King: One of the reasons people are cynical about this is that the president just a few weeks ago submitted a budget to the congress. If he wanted to put his proposals on paper that was the place to do it. So the a few weeks later he comes in says essentially "Oh I want to amend my own budget."
You know Dana, we know that's why the Republicans are going to say, oh he doesn't mean it, he's late to the game. What are the Democrats on Capitol Hill saying? We talked about the interest groups, Move-on saying "hold on Mr President, don't you dare." What about his Democrats on the Hill?
Bash: There's similar trepidation, no doubt about it. But they also realize, the Democrats realize, that they need to get into the game. The Republicans in the House had this big splash with Paul Ryan's budget which obviously they don't like.They still have not done, the Democrats obviously run the Senate, they have not seen the Democrats answer here, so they do feel like they want the President to get into the game but they are concerned as you said in the beginning of the segment.
The President is looking over his left shoulder. There's a reason for that. A lot of people here are concerned, to be blunt, that he's selling them out.
King: And it's hard for an incumbent President, Ed, especially an incumbent president who has to do business with the other party, to do the two things that you just talked about. Number one he has to seem responsible, he has to try to negotiate with them, he has no choice. On the other hand, he's gearing up a campaign where he knows his base, especially if unemployment is still around 8%, he's got to get every single one of them out to vote.
Henry: He's got to get the base excited, you're right and the base is pretty upset with him right now going back to what you mentioned before, which is the December tax deal, extending the Bush taxcuts. They were mad about that. They're mad about last week's budget deal and they are very apprehensive about what he's going to lay out here.
I was talking to a senior Democrat who advises the White House, outside the White House today who was sayinbg look, every time this president sits down with Speaker Boehner, to Gloria's point about negotiating skills, the president seems to give up another 5 billion dollars, 10 billion dollars, 20 billions dollars. It' s like the spending cuts keep going up. If you think about where the congressional Democrats started a couople of months ago they were talking about no spending cuts on the table. It keeps going up.
But this president has a much different reality than congressional Democrats.
Borger: (sagely) right
Henry: He's going for re-election, him going to the middle and having liberal Democrats mad at him is not a bad thing.
So there you have it. If you have a better understanding of the politics or the policy of this issue more power to you. I am going to adjourn for a tall drink.