Where is this going ? Well, there seem to be numerically fewer ways for Congress to hurt America.

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this is not a diary for pie fight or flame wars or Obama bashing

Boehner originally proposed the chained CPI cut to Social Security benefits.

The President understood that the Boehner would have a tough time winning support for any deal among his members. The President chose to offer a terrible deal in order to try to enable Boehner to get enough of his members to go along so that the fiscal cliff would be averted. Perhaps part of the argument that the President made to himself was that the chained CPI cut would not be as bad as the cut to Medicare (however, that was to providers) and the expiration of the tax cuts for the middle class. Some may believe that the President offered it as part of the continuing kabuki, knowing that this would never become law. Regardless, I do not think that the President should have made the offer. Boehner is unable to make a deal without a sizable amount of Democratic House members. It leaves one wondering why he would negotiate with Boehner. It appears to me that he is repeating what he did in 2010: negotiating with himself. He is coming close to finding a way to lose when he holds the best hand. Why for the love of reason would he offer up these concessions, especially at this point? Neither of the two contentious items (the marginal federal income tax rate only going up for those who make less than 400K and the chained CPI) should have been part of any deal, even in the end, in my view. However, to offer them without a serious offer from Speaker Boehner (who cannot deliver enough votes from his own caucus), does not make sense.

Speaker Boehner's plan B was attached to a companion bill that had so many poison pills that he (Boehner) had to know it had zero chance of becoming law (thus, it was more kabuki). It included cuts to Meals on Wheels, school lunches for kids, raised spending on defense, ... . This was necessary to try to cajole enough GOPers in the House to vote for the tax increase on millionaires and the rest of his plan B. This was all designed to show that Boehner and the GOP controlled House could at least pass something.

Well, that might, one could at least argue, have worked if they could have passed it. See, something can pass our GOP controlled House, but it better be exactly what we want.
They could not even pass that bill. This means that the US House of Representatives has a very difficult time passing any legislation, period. And nothing it passes with majority GOP support has any chance of ever becoming law.

So, what happens now ?

1. the fiscal cliff (probably the best option - in my opinion)

2. Boehner brings to the floor a bill with majority Dem support and it passes the House and US Senate and conference and does not get vetoed by the President.

Does it make sense to negotiate with Boehner ?

Boehner does decide what legislation goes to the House floor for a vote and revenue bills must originate in the lower chamber. So, Boehner does have something to offer us (but only if the bill that passes is better than the fiscal cliff). He must be convinced that the bill that we give him is good enough to jeopardize his speakership by ignoring the recent republican tradition of only sending bills for a vote that have majority GOP support. Further, since we are in the minority, we will need 20 some odd votes (depending on our own defections) from Republicans in the House. He can bring many more votes than that - however, in order to win a large number of republican votes Boehner must throw away all Democratic votes (resulting in a bill that cannot pass the House).

It appears easier to get 20 something republican votes along with a unified Democratic caucus than for the republicans to get something passed with zero Democratic support.
In fact, it appears nearly impossible for republicans to pass any bill that averts the fiscal cliff without Democratic support. So, Boehner has, it appears, two choices: bring a bill to the floor with mostly Democratic support or give up at his job. FAIL !

The good news is that we may escape the chained CPI cut in Social Security (which does not add one penny to the deficit).


6:10 PM PT: We need 25 Republican votes in the House.

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