The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Crisis: Democratic Versus Republican Proposals

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Boehner has had to deal with dissension and infighting within his own party. Image by Darth Kalwejt

Boehner’s “Plan B:” Failed Gambit

Despite wavering from more moderate elements within his party, intransigent resistance from the most conservative caucuses made it clear they would not accept Boehner’s latest proposal.

In an effort to get something passed and shift the political pressure to the Democrats, a “Plan B” was proposed: extend the Bush tax cuts for all families making $1 million or less, and leave the rest to be fought after the new year.

In a stinging rebuke due in large part by Democratic vows to oppose the measure, Boehner could not muster sufficient support within his own party, as Republicans worried they would be labeled by Grover Norquist’s organization and others as supporting raising taxes.

Thus, the proposal was shelved and the House adjourned for the Christmas break.

Government’s Battle of the Wills: Likely Outcome

President Obama has called for a short-term solution to be worked out by Congress, and he and others remain confident something can be done in time.

If not, a bizarre twist to a convoluted, charged scenario could plausibly occur: upon reconvening on January 3rd and with tax rates then up to Clinton-era levels, the new Senate could pass a bill lowering taxes on households making $250,000 or less and send it to the House for consideration. Free from the worry they would be characterized as raising taxes since the new bill would technically lower them, that measure (or a negotiated compromise version) could then be passed.

If it takes such byzantine maneuvering to pass essentially the same bill Boehner and Obama were close to agreement on just this week, the House needs to spend the Christmas break reading as much of Audre Lorde’s works as they can get their hands upon.

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