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Harry Reid
Sen. Harry Reid
Senate Majority Harry Reid is pressing the advantage Democrats in the Senate and President Obama have following Tuesday's election, challenging House Speaker John Boehner to get ready to start dealing on the so-called fiscal cliff. In a press conference yesterday, he said there was no point delaying a deal on the combination of expiring tax cuts and scheduled spending cuts set to trigger at the end of the year.
“I’m not for kicking the can down the road,” Mr. Reid said. “I think we’ve done that far too much.” Mr. Reid said that “we know what the issue is; we need to solve the issue. Waiting for a month, six weeks, six months–that’s not going to solve the problem.”

“I think that we should just roll up our sleeves and get it done,” he said. [...]

Mr. Reid said that voters want higher taxes on the wealthy. That is the same position he and Mr. Obama had taken before the Nov. 6 elections and which Republicans have roundly rejected. Democrats want the Bush tax cuts to expire after the first $250,000 of a couple’s income or the first $200,000 of individual income. Republicans want the Bush tax cuts extended for everyone for another year to create time to overhaul the tax code.

“Everybody agrees that the richest of the rich have to help a little bit,” Mr. Reid said. He added that people should “look at the exit polls.”

Senate leadership has been positioning for taking a hard line on the tax cuts for the wealthy since last month, when Sen. Chuck Schumer gave a speech telling the Democrats in the Simpson-Bowles loving gang of deficit peacocks to give up on the idea of any kind of a deal that didn't involve the expiration of tax cuts for the wealthy.

Reid took it up a notch yesterday, saying that any deal-making would exclude Social Security, including ruling out "changing the way that government benefits are calculated to better reflect the impact of real inflation." In other words, the chained CPI idea that would result in benefit cuts. He said Social Security will be protected by Senate Democrats.

"We are not going to mess with Social Security," Reid told reporters as he left a post-election news conference that he used to call for cooperation between the two parties in dealing with U.S. fiscal woes.
That's a really good start on political positioning for the lame duck session, for dealing both with Republicans and with the core of deficit peacocks in the Democratic caucus who just love the idea of sacrificing Social Security to prove how serious they are.

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Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 09:01 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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