Fiscal Bunny Slope Update and Breaking NewsPosted: January 1, 2013
The two choices: amend the bill with spending cuts – likely killing it for the 112th Congress – or vote to adopt the Senate measure and send it to President Obama for his signature.
During an evening vote series, members are being whipped on an amendment option: attaching a $328 billion spending cut measure to the Senate deal. That measure passed the House twice in 2012 on party-line votes. It reduced the deficit by $243 billion, left cuts to Medicare in place, turned off $72 billion of $109 billion in defense and non-defense spending set for 2013. The Senate throughout 2012 ignored this House measure.
When the standalone bill came up for a vote in May, it passed by 218 to 199 votes with 16 GOP “no” votes. In December, it passed 215 to 209 with 21 GOP “no” votes. Since that last vote, Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), a “yes” vote, has resigned from the House to become a senator.
Sources confirmed that despite conservative grumbling about corporate tax “giveaways” in the Senate bill, tax breaks for corporations are not considered for amendment. The Senate deal contains dozens of “tax extenders” including for clean energy.
If there is more than a 217-vote majority within the Republican conference for the amended bill, it will be brought to the floor. If a majority cannot be found, the Senate deal will get an up-or-down vote, members said.
While House Republicans broadly oppose the legislation the Senate passed overwhelmingly early Tuesday morning, many of them emerged from their second closed-door meeting of the day believing that, ultimately, the House would approve the measure without amendments.
Meanwhile, stock markets around the world are on USA Economy Death Watch. Believe me, markets will not react will to what’s going on right now–starting in about an hour–when the Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo markets open up. Ask me why all of my money is sitting in FDIC insured bank accounts right now and not enriching my brokerage firm. Yes, folks, it’s the House Republican Dysfunction Show!
Let me provide some background music while I explain what’s going on with the Republicans in the House.
So, what are the folks that are willing to tank-the- country over fear of losing their seats to even more crazy people in 2 years doing now? Well, combine that with political ambitions of Ryan, Cantor, and other “up and comers” that would cook their grandmother for the main dish at a fundraiser for their 2016 presidential bids and it’s drama worthy of any Three Stooges short.
Conservative opposition to the agreement stems from a host of issues, including the fact that the deal does not include any spending cuts, would significantly add to the nation’s deficit and raises taxes on those making more than $400,000 a year.
And Cantor’s not alone in opposing the deal: the agreement is universally disliked within Republican circles, and even Democrats in the House and Senate have voiced complaints about the deal.
The lack of spending cuts in the Senate bill was a universal concern amongst members in today’s meeting,” said Boehner spokesperson Brendan Buck. “Conversations with members will continue throughout the afternoon on the path forward.”
Rep. Steve LaTourette, a Boehner ally, said there were “two schools of thought” expressed in the meeting: To accept the deal and “live to fight another day,” or amend the measure and send it back to the Senate.
CNN and Twitter appear to be the sole sources of news on this at the moment. The news readers are still recovering from the champagne brunches and aren’t working. Mostly, CNN has turned into a breif show of representatives that want to be counted in the “I’d rather tank the country than piss off my insane base” number. Boehner is clearly in a corner. He appears to be the appetizer on the let’s cook granny for our fundraiser event.
Under our non-parliamentary system, the party leadership has less leverage to pressure rank-and-file members of the caucus. The result is episodes like last month’s “Plan B” fiasco, where Speaker Boehner tried and failed to pass an official Republican solution to the fiscal cliff. Democrats were unified against the bill, which they viewed as too conservative. Yet many Republicans viewed it as not conservative enough, and Boehner didn’t have any way to force them to support it.
In short, John Boehner has committed himself to a set of principles for operating the House that makes the body fundamentally dysfunctional. A functional legislative body either needs a mechanism for the majority leader to get members of his caucus to toe the party line, or he needs the ability to “reach across the aisle” to get the votes he needs from the minority. John Boehner lacks the former, and by ruling out the latter he’s effectively painted himself into a corner where he might not be able to get any piece of “fiscal cliff” legislation passed by the full House of Representatives.
It does look like the amended bill will not pass. Most bets are that Boehner will hold an up or down on the Senate bill and the Dems will ensure its passage. Hey house Republicans! Feet meet your ak-47s!!!! We’ll know more within the our after all the hand wringing and protesting too much occurs.
As your friendly resident economist, I’d just like to say that it’s apparent that there are a bunch of people in charge of our policy that did not learn the lesson of the great depression or the great recession. They’ve also not learned the lessons of the research surrounding the Reagan years. Every one needs to know the variables that can use to plan their finances. Businesses and families should not be held hostage to political antics and economic policy based on wishful thinking and extremists beliefs. This keeps repeating itself because crazy people have taken over the Republican Party. It needs to stop.
The choice is to let an up or down vote on the Senate Bill happen within the next hour or so. The Democratic Leadership believes they have enough Democratic votes to get it passed. So, the thought is that the Senate bill will pass. The technical process to get the bill to the floor has started (per CNN). The vote will be held some time around 9:00 pm.