Fiscal cliff notes 12/28

Fiscal cliff notes 12/28

by digby

So Reid and McConnell are supposed to try to work out some deal that will pass both houses and if they don't the president wants an up or down vote on extending the Bush tax cuts for those making less than 250k a year and Unemployment Insurance.  He's pretty much daring the GOP to filibuster in the Senate --- and/or Boehner to take the heat for not allowing a vote on middle class tax cuts.

I have no idea what the Republicans will be willing to do, but I'm for just letting the president's up or down vote happen or go over the cliff --- and living to fight another day.  It's extremely unlikely that the GOP will give up the impending debt ceiling fight for anything less than a huge hit to some "entitlement" somewhere, so I say just get this vote or go over the cliff.  The price of any deal under these circumstances is almost guaranteed to be too high.

Here's the statement from Reid and McConnell:

REID—I’m told by the managers that they think we complete action on this legislation in the next couple of hours. The plan is, everyone knows, we’ve been to the WH. We’ve had a constructive meeting. We certainly hope that something positive will come from that. The R Leader and I and our staffs are working to see what we can come up with. It shouldn’t take a long time to do that. I think it would be to everyone’s interest if we were not in session tomorrow. It’s my plan to come in at 1pm [Sunday], have an hour under our previous agreement on Galante. We’ll start votes a little after 2PM. For us, we’re going to have another caucus following that, and hopefully by that time we will have made a determination. McConnell and I, whether we can do something on the floor in addition to what ive talked about. I do think we need that to have everybody step back a little bitIt we come up with something, its not that easy. We are dealing with big numbers, and some of the stuff we do is somewhat complicated. I think it was a very positive meeting. 
 McCONNELL--I share the view of the Maj. Leader, we had a good meeting down at the WH. We are engaged in discussions, the Maj. Leader and myself and the WH, in the hopes that we can come fwd as early as Sunday and have a recommendation that I can make to my conference and the Maj. Leader can make to his conference. So, we’ll be working hard to try to see if we can get there in the next 24 hours. So, I’m hopeful and optimistic.  
REID—I'm going to do everything I can. I'm confident McConnell will do the same. Everybody, whatever we come up with is going to be imperfect. Some people aren’t going to like it. Some people will like it less. But that’s where we are. I feel confident that we have an obligation to do the best we can. That was made very clear in the WH. We’re going to do the best we can for the caucuses that we have and the country that’s waiting for us to make a decision
Keep in mind that if Reid and McConnell come up with something, the likely outcome is that Democrats will have to be the majority in both houses to pass the deal. That means most of the Republicans will be allowed to vote against spending cuts and tax increases while most of the Democrats will be expected to vote for spending cuts and tax increases. Despite the fact that the taxes were scheduled to go up anyway, this will be called a Democratic victory. Why, Villagers might even bestow upon them their greatest accolade and call them "grown-ups."

I think the sequester will be taken care of --- nobody's going to allow the defense industry to lose even a penny. Nobody.  Either break off the middle class tax cuts now as the president proposes as his fallback plan or let everyone vote for tax cuts after the first and then allow the debt ceiling games to begin. (It's got to happen some time.) I see no reason to capitulate on spending at this point. If that's what it takes, go over the cliff.  Why should Democrats become the tax collectors for the austerity state?

If you are of a mind to call Senator Reid's office and leave him a message, you can do so here. (And be sure tell him to keep Kent Conrad and his big "ideas" off the table. Conrad's the lamest of ducks and has no business involving himself at this point.)

Reid's office:
Phone: 202-224-3542 / Fax: 202-224-7327
Toll Free for Nevadans: 1-866-SEN-REID (736-7343) - Restricted to calls originating from area codes 775 and 702