A Flaccid BoehnerPosted: December 20, 2012
We currently have a Speaker of the House that couldn’t deliver the mail with an army of letter carriers at his bid. John Boehner’s spurious Plan B has turned into fiasco. The Plan was not brought to the floor for a vote because the speaker and his limp whip couldn’t get the math straight.
Plan B had been loaded down with so many goodies that all the establishment nuts–like Grover Norquist–were putting themselves into pretzels to get members to vote. Obama had promised it veto and Senate Majority Leader Reid had said it would not pass. Boehner and cronies couldn’t do it.
Beneath the fracas on the fiscal cliff fight, the Republicans’ Plan B proposal would check off many items on the GOP’s financial services wish-list, gutting core pieces at the heart of the Dodd-Frank 2010 reform law and terminating one of the administration’s main housing relief programs, under the radar.
The bill, which would extend Bush-era tax cuts for earners who make up to $1 million a year, would erode Dodd-Frank by cutting the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s automatic funding from the Federal Reserve and subjecting it to the annual appropriations process.
Plan B would repeal a section of the reform law that gives federal regulators tools to unwind ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions, known as “orderly liquidation authority.”
The Republican proposal for addressing the fiscal cliff would check off another GOP banking goal of shuttering the Office of Financial Research, which is meant to churn analytical data from financial companies to help regulators identify and knock down emerging threats to the financial system.
The financial services measures in Plan B also include a provision to terminate the Home Affordable Modification Program, one of the administration’s main homeowner assistance programs.
In April, the House Financial Services Committee passed the same package of financial services provisions along with a flood insurance reform component as a way to come up with $35 billion in spending cuts. The package was rolled into the GOP-backed Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act that passed the House in May.
But much of the savings from eliminating the “too big to fail” provision were attributable to a budget gimmick, by finding artificial savings, which National Journal reported at the time.
Boehner made an impassioned plea to his caucus. He begged them to for vote for the plan. There are rumors of screaming matches within the caucus meeting. This puts into question his job security and makes it more likely that nothing will be done this year. That means it’s its fiscal cliff time!
The fate of US negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff were thrown into turmoil after efforts by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives to pass their back-up plan to avert most of the tax hikes collapsed amid a conservative backlash.
After calling an emergency meeting of his own party’s lawmakers, Mr Boehner issued a statement saying there would be no vote on Thursday night on the Republican “plan B”, as planned.
“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. Now it is up to the president to work with Senator [Harry] Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff,” Mr Boehner said, referring the Democratic Senate majority leader.
The failure to hold a vote – after a short but dramatic arm-twisting campaign by Republican leaders – will cast serious doubt on Mr Boehner’s ability to muster support for any deal he might cut with Barack Obama, US president, leading to pessimism about the prospects for any agreement. If no budget deal is reached by January 1, the US will be hit by a series of $600bn in automatic tax increases and spending cuts next year, threatening a new recession. US equities futures markets dove sharply on the news.
The failure of plan B came towards the end of a week that had begun with widespread optimism over the prospects of a bipartisan agreement between Mr Boehner and Mr Obama to reduce the deficit and avert the fiscal cliff. Both Mr Obama and Mr Boehner had made significant concessions on both taxes and spending last weekend, narrowing their differences sharply. But they failed to close the deal, and Mr Boehner decided to take his chances and move ahead with a purely Republican proposal, in order to exert more pressure on Mr Obama and boost his leverage.
But the plan backfired, as conservative rank-and-file members balked at “plan B” – which would have raised taxes on income over $1m but extended tax rates for all other taxpayers. This would have been the first vote for a tax increase in more than two decades for House Republicans.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The vote here is all about establishing an argument. That’s all it is about. And what Boehner will say — he said it in the clip you showed — is the president hasn’t offered anything. What he’s offering, what he spoke about yesterday in the news conference where he said ‘I’ve offered a balanced plan,’ is a swindle. There’s nothing but essentially tax hikes. And not only revenue hikes but increases in rates, where the Republicans have caved, as Obama himself has said. Boehner himself has admitted. And they have gotten nothing of any importance, any significance, on spending — whether discretionary and nothing on entitlements of any importance.
So what he’s doing by passing “Plan B” is to say we’re ready to do exactly what the president has said he wants to do. He says I campaigned on taxing, raising the rates on millionaires. Well the definition of a millionaire is a guy who makes a million dollars a year, that’s exactly what we’re passing. So, the president has no argument to justify a veto or the Senate rejection of this. And I think that is a smart move because they’re going to lose either way and at least he can now say in resisting the swindle — the deal he offered is a swindle, I can’t see him accepting it if the president isn’t going to move — at least he can say we gave the president what he wanted and what he said he campaigned on.
I’ll just add one thing. If the “Plan B” does not succeed, if he fails in the House, Boehner has a “Plan C.” That’s the Mayan apocalypse tomorrow.
Did Cantor really work this thing or is he planning a coup?
Will the Tea Party Republicans bring down the party?
Will Dancing Dave and his Disco Party be able to inject enough media blue pill magic into the conversation to make themselves all feel better about themselves?