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Boehner makes offer; governors to the White House: 27 days to the fiscal cliff

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Fiscal Cliff Notes for Dec. 4, 2012
27 days to the fiscal cliff


Good morning to another day where Congress and the White House wrangle over solving--even a bit--our national fiscal woes. President Barack Obama is not budging from his demand of Republicans that they first deliver on extending tax breaks for 98 percent of earners first before any concessions are made on the spending side. On Monday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders sent Obama a letter with some offers on Monday. My post with the details is HERE.

Excerpt from Boehner letter: "With the fiscal cliff nearing, our priority remains finding a reasonable solution that can pass both the House and the Senate, and be signed into law in the next couple of weeks. The best way to do this is by learning from and building on the bipartisan discussions that have occurred during this Congress, including the Biden Group, the Joint Select Committee, and our negotiations leading up to the Budget Control Act."


A new Washington Post poll reveals many of the respondents--all adults-- do not understand the impact of falling off the fiscal cliff. Read the poll HERE.

Q: How well do you feel you understand what would happen if these automatic spending cuts and tax increases were to go into effect in January?

28 percent Very well

29 percent Fairly well

22 percent Not too well

19 percent Not at all well


Obama and Vice President Joe Biden huddle with governors today at the White House to "discuss the actions we need to take to keep our economy growing and find a balanced approach to reduce our deficit." Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is not attending. Spokesman Brooke Anderson told me he is staying put because of the veto session.


Today, watch for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to roll out what is called a discharge petition to try to force a vote just on extending the tax breaks for the 98 percenters. The Speaker controls what votes occur in the House and this is a tactic to try to get around him. Very hard to do, however.

Anyway....The Obama White House, Pelosi and other Democrats turned thumbs down on the Boehner offer.

On CNN on Tuesday morning, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) told host Soledad O'Brien, "the Republican plan, failed the very first test of fairness and it went after the middle class. And it goes -- it protects all millionaires and billionaires from the Bush tax cuts, or keeping the Bush tax cuts, at the same time that it asks the middle class to carry the load.

"It also, by the way, went after seniors. It tells them you shouldn't get that $21 on average cost-of-living increase for the cost of your food, your medicine, but we'll go ahead and let the millionaires keep the $78 thousand or so they get in one year in tax breaks.

"So the president was right. This fails the test of fairness. And at the same time, it almost acts as -- the Republican plan is almost as if the Republicans didn't watch the last two years of campaigning in an election where essentially what they proposed was the Romney plan."


Boehner spokesman Brendon Buck pushes back: "With our offer yesterday, Republicans have made a good faith effort to find common ground and avoid the fiscal cliff. .....

"...By any measure, the Republican offer is more balanced than the President's proposal. The GOP offer includes $800 billion in new revenue through tax reform, coupled with $1.2 trillion in spending cuts as well as $200 billion in savings from a revision to the way inflation is calculated (this provides savings on the both the revenue and spending side). Compare this to the President's plan which includes $1.6 trillion in tax increases and just $400 billion in spending cuts - which are wiped out by stimulus and other measures he's demanding. Our ratio: $800B to $1.2T. His ratio: $1.6T to $0. Tell me which is more balanced.

"In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill." - There is absolutely nothing to support this statement. The GOP offer proposes revenue only from the same top earners that the President talks about. Independent budget groups have demonstrated there are multiple ways to achieve the level of revenue in our offer without raising rates or touching the middle class. You'll recall, the level of revenue in our plan is what was barely able to pass the Senate earlier this year (with 51 votes). Given that the makeup of Congress has not changed, seeking anything more is a waste of precious time.

".....With the clock ticking, Republicans continue to be the only ones making any effort to avoid the fiscal cliff. Despite jobs being on the line, it seems the White House is not willing to stand up to the 'cliff jumpers' on the Left. For a President who claims to understand the peril of second-term overreach, we're sure setting up to see a nice reminder of how that tends to work out.

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