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U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a bipartisan meeting with Congressional leaders in the Roosevelt Room of White House to discuss the economy, November 16, 2012. Left of President Obama is Speaker of the House John Boehner.                             REU
Both sides are now toeing the edge of the cliff. On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner said:
“Tomorrow, the House will pass legislation to make permanent tax relief for nearly every American—99.81 percent of the American people. Then the president will have a decision to make. He can call on the Senate Democrats to pass that bill, or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in American history.”
He might not be ready, as Greg Sargent surmises, to push the nation off the cliff curb, but he's going to pretend like he is, at the very least.

In turn, the White House says President Obama would veto the legislation.

[...] The Administration will not accept a deal that asks too little of the very wealthiest to increase revenue and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors. Instead of working together to find a balanced approach that can pass both Houses of the Congress, the House amendment will not protect middle class families and does  little to address the Nation's fiscal challenges as it includes no spending cuts. The Administration believes that it can work together with the Congress to resolve remaining differences and not miss this opportunity to avert the fiscal cliff.

If the President were presented with the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.J. Res. 66, he would veto this legislation.

Of course, it wouldn't come to a veto because the Senate would never pass it. It does appear, however, that they are at an impasse, for now. If this belligerence from Boehner in reaction to Obama's concessions means that there won't be any more concessions, then it might be off the cliff curb.

At this point in time, it's just about who gets the blame. There's still two weeks before the deadline, however, so plenty of time left for more dealing.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:41 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Go off the curb! (12+ / 0-)

    We'll be in a better negotiating position after.

    •  Going over the cliff would be good (8+ / 0-)

      After the Bush tax cuts expire, there will be tremendous pressure to restore them for income under $250k (and Congress will have a lot more progressive Democrats). Such a tax cut bill could then be filled with progressive — everything on our agenda since this might be the last piece of decent legislation passed for two years.

      The end of the Bush tax cuts is our best leverage. We should be happy that those tax cuts will expire without having to do anything.

      •  I agree. My only concern... (0+ / 0-)

        is that Republicans delay the deal so long that Obama's and congressional Democratic approval numbers shoot downward enough that they get to save face.

        If Republicans know they are on the losing end, they make sure you go down with them.

        •  President Obama needs to make more speeches (6+ / 0-)

          and explain, over and over, that Republicans won't accept any deal unless it lets the superrich keep their tax cuts. This is not a difficult concept and if Obama keeps repeating it, most people will get it. And so they'll blame Republicans.

          •  Time for Pres O to go on prime time (8+ / 0-)

            and explain what's going on.

            We have found out that he can get to the uninformed voter by doing it during Monday night football.

            Stick it to 'em.

            Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. Frank Zappa

            by Da Rock on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:31:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No More Capitulation!!! (3+ / 0-)

              If the GOP passes their version of some insane permanent tax cut while also cutting social security and medicare, Obama ought to take that as a reset to blank slate in the negotiations - and ally himself very publicly with the strongest negotiators in his own party and bring them to any future meetings.

              Better yet, he should refuse private meetings with Boehner until he has worked out a clear plan with democrats in the House and Senate - it is they after all who will likely be the deciding players in this when the final tallies are counted.

              Obama can offer leadership in his discussions with Reid and Pelosi and other leaders, like he has to date in meetings with community and congressional delegates. He has made his offer. Let the public and other democratic leaders have their say.

              Social Security belongs to all the American public. It's fate ought to be aired out in larger discussions than with just two contentious leaders.

              And frankly, Mr. President, it's clear that Mr. Boehner does not have your best interests in mind...

              "Obama wasn't elected to play nice with Republicans. -kos

              by Beastly Fool on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:40:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Difference between breaking a leg and... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Beastly Fool, venger

        If we fall off a cliff and break a leg, it could mean a month in a cast and then working to regain muscle tone; and not breaking a leg but messing up some other part of the body and being permanently disabled.

        Given Republican obstruction, I think that any deal that can keep us from going over the cliff would do worse than a broken leg.

        The furor over Friday's [10.5] job report revealed a political movement that is rooting for American failure, so obsessed with taking down Obama that good news drives its members into a blind rage. -Paul Krugman

        by Judge Moonbox on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:39:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Paul Krugman's blog today has it right. (11+ / 0-)

      No more pussy-footing from the president.  He's doing all the conceding.  Time for the GOP to take ownership of its giveaways to Richy Rich and friends.

      Obama’s fiscal deal offer was already distressing — cuts to Social Security, and a big concession, it turns out, on taxation of dividends, retaining most of the Bush cut (with the benefits flowing overwhelmingly to the top 1 percent). It wasn’t clear that the deal would have gotten nearly enough in return.

      But sure enough, it looks as if Republicans have taken the offer as a sign of weakness, as a starting point from which they can bargain Obama down. Oh, and they’re not giving up at all on the idea of using the debt ceiling for further blackmail.

      In other words, all of a sudden it’s feeling a lot like 2011 again, with the president negotiating with himself while the other side enjoys the process.

      Enough of dealing with Miss Piggy Boehner and Yertle the Turtle McConnell, Mr. President.  Their aim is to fuck you, pure and simple.

      I'm not sixty-two—I'm fifty-twelve!

      by Pragmatus on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:18:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Remember that Avengers scene (0+ / 0-)

      where Loki forces everyone to kneel before him and explains that this is their natural state? He was wrong of course, because it's only the natural state of automatic capitulators like Obama. Except in Obama's case, he actually enjoys and embraces it. Remember his more than excessive bowing to Prince Charles, his botched debt ceiling negotiation, and his first debate with Romney.

  •  This shows how weak Boehner is (6+ / 0-)

    He still has to throw some red meat to the yelping pack of wild dogs he calls his caucus.

    •  It's actually a good strategy by Boehner... (15+ / 0-)

      Obama had the upper hand.  If he insisted on dealing with the tax issue first, passing tax cuts for the first $250k in income before any other negotiations - he could have put Boehner in a box.  Now, because of his fumble, Boehnor is able to turn the tables on Obama.  This is totally self-inflicted.

      'Goodwill' between the GOP and the President is as abundant as unicorn farts - Me'

      by RichM on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:59:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Senate... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Beastly Fool, Headlight

        ...can modify the bill to make it middle-class-only and send it right back.

      •  You need to get a grip (6+ / 0-)

        Obama made a offer to show just how far off the rails the GOP is.  Once again for the speaker it all or nothing.  The general public looks at this and see Obama willing to make a good faith offer and they see the speaker walking away and pulling a stunt.  You need to learn how the game is played.  This is not a game of checkers.  Its a game of chicken and the speaker just turned right into a ditch.


        by thegreatkramer on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:17:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          That's what happened...

          'Goodwill' between the GOP and the President is as abundant as unicorn farts - Me'

          by RichM on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:24:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Reeeeeallllllllllly? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          teacherjon, Wolf10, RichM
          "Obama made a offer to show just how far off the rails the GOP is."
          wasn't serious? Just for shits and grins and to show the other side?

          "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

          by gritsngumbo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:26:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

            Obama knew nothing he would offer would me good enough. What about that is so hard to understand?  The GOP, in their current state of being isn't allow to even think about taking or even meeting in the middle to get a deal done.  You have have to remember that the only deal that was good enough last time was 98%, in the words of the speaker.  Once the "plan b" votes fails tomorrow, or as I see it, never coming to the floor for a vote.  Obama will once again be the last grown up in the arena.  And yes it was for shits and laughs if thats what you wanna know.  I have been laughing at all the hyper ventilating everyone is doing over a deal that was never going to happen anyways.  Now go and change your armor.  That rabbit's dynamite.  


            by thegreatkramer on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:36:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Here's the problem (0+ / 0-)

              I think your analysis may be correct -- Obama was afraid Boehner would successfully portray him as uncompromising, and further he knew that this offer would be rejected.  

              The problem is that he didn't wait for Boehner to clearly take ownership of the chained-CPI.  Now it's out there, with the President's name attached.  

              So look what happened.  Boehner is no longer trying to get a deal.   Now he's moving plan B, and trying to shift blame to the President and the democrats for going over the cliff.  The ideal result for Boehner is now that we go over the cliff, with Obama getting a share of the blame, the tax increases hit everyone, and the Republicans come back with a plan to cut taxes and save the day -- with Obama already having moved the goalposts to the $400,000 level and a social security benefits cut on the table.  

        •  Republicans Have the Upper Hand Now ... (6+ / 0-)

          ... thanks to Obama's offer which gives the Republicans more then the could ever hope for.  But why should the Republicans rush and take this deal now.  There is still two weeks left for hostage taking.  Obama has signaled that he is desperate to make a deal as his selling out of SS shows.  Boehner is just doing some theatrics to push Obama for more concessions.  

          I expect by the end that Obama will have negotiated a 0% capital gains tax rate, a raise in Medicare age eligibility and privatization of SS.  

          Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

          by howd on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:41:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Only in your mind (0+ / 0-)

            do the GOP have the upper hand.  Now go and change your armor.


            by thegreatkramer on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:39:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah - they are fighting! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Fiscal slope here we come!

    'Goodwill' between the GOP and the President is as abundant as unicorn farts - Me'

    by RichM on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:49:56 PM PST

  •  Good. Veto the sucker. Or wait, maybe Harry Reid (5+ / 0-)

    could filibuster it (from getting to a vote). This would call for indignation from the Turtle for obstructing an up or down vote, of course.

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:52:37 PM PST

  •  My theory (5+ / 0-)

    And I acknowledge I may be overly optimistic, but my theory is that the president leaked his latest offer because he knew the GOP was going for plan B and this way he's the one who looks reasonable if we go over the cliff.

    At least I hope that's the case, because I am with Krugman that the president's latest offer is barely tolerable.

    •  You don't get to be the chosen candidate for the (6+ / 0-)

      Nation's highest office, not just once but twice, unless you are a known quantity - and the Elite really  understood Obama's psychology when they choose him to be "the leader."

      But it's all good - if you are one of the Elite. They don't need the Social Security money they have paid in anyway. Most of them are living on their Holiday bonuses of X many millions of dollars.

      If some of us find that what is going on is reprehensible - well, none of us have the Big Bucks to make a stink about it.
      I mean, my personal invitation to the WH on Inaugural Day hasn't come in the mail yet. And when it arrives, I imagine I won't be seated within walking distance of the White House or any of the reception venues.

      Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

      by Truedelphi on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:07:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You might have something there... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pistolSO, democrattotheend

      This article from TPM seems more positive for Democrats:

      How ‘Plan B’ Scrambled Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

  •   Sophia's Choice (11+ / 0-)

    In the movie's Sophie's Choice, the main character is given a choice between having one her children shot, or the other shot.

    The nice thing about this sham that is being played out is, if you are cynical like I am, this gives the illusion once again of "greater evil" versus "lesser evil."

    I have call these sorts of games both the President and the House Speaker are playing: Sophie's Choice.

    Either, we lose. But the game is to pretend there's always something worse although both choices are bad. Ultimately Sophie has no good choice.

    Both the President and House Speaker are offering up how they want to hurt some Americans.

  •  Suspect that (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, atana, Van Buren, howd

    WH and Boehner's office know exactly how this is going to play out.

  •  They had to makes changes so they have the votes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Here We Go! (4+ / 7-)

    Speaker Boehner just has to wait out President Obama. The latter's line in the sand was $250,000 a week ago. Now it's $400,000. Next President Boehner is going to fire Speaker Obama.

    It sticks in my craw that I voted for the president because the alternative was unthinkable and now he's selling out his base in some quixotic quest for bi-partisanship.

    My mind flashes back to President Obama's shy, coquettish first debate performance. He just goes to jelly when face to face with a powerful white man.

    If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:03:32 PM PST

  •  I didn't know that Boehner was on board with (0+ / 0-)

    emergency contraception?

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:07:31 PM PST

  •  Prez: You can't negotiate with Repubs. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence, Marjmar

    Please stop trying.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:11:16 PM PST

  •  I love it when the Prez grabs his nutz!!!! (4+ / 0-)

    (I know, I'm such a fucking lady).  I can't remember too many times I've heard the word 'veto' out the gate from this administration.  More please!!!  And that Boehner is a dick.  I don't like people who talk to me like I'm dumb.  Translation, "Pass my bill or I'll blame it all on you.". Who does Boehner think he is talking to?  Good thing is I can't wait to see the republican actually vote on a bill that raises and iota of taxes.  I don't think he has the votes myself.

  •  Tax Increase? (0+ / 0-)

    He keeps using those words. Etc. etc. etc.

    I STILL want to see Mitt's taxes.

    by Van Buren on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:12:43 PM PST

  •  Tempted to scream "No More Dealing !!!" (10+ / 0-)

    I was appalled by the president's press conference today.

    I guess he learned nothing from the Debt Ceiling debacle last year.

    Apparently Grand Bargain Guy gives and gives and gives thinking the Republicans will say yes because he's so bipartisan and all, and willing to unravel key parts of our safety net.

    When they won't meet him halfway, Obama offers 60%, then 75%, then 90%.  We got lucky last time because the Republicans are so extreme they wouldn't take 95%.

    Social Security and the Debt Ceiling should not even be part of this. We won the freakin' election didn't we?

  •  I wish I could trust Obama (7+ / 0-)

    but I don't.  We will have to see what he does, but he doesn't seem concerned about keeping his promises

  •  Go Over the Cliff or Curb or Whatever (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marjmar, Vetwife, judyms9

    To the teabags, boehner you lead them, nobody has paid a dime for your two rubber stamped wars and all the costs of, deficits had already started rapidly rising, as did your rubber stamping, Before 9/11, all borrowed and off the books till the executive administrations changed!! Add in all the other rubber stamped bush policies, All are still added daily to that deficits! But more importantly, and related to the wars of choice, you all cheered on abandoning the main missions for even sending the military into that region with the first drum beats pointed at Iraq, are the costs for the results of these wars, a decade plus of Not paying for, added to the previous decades and under funding the VA! As you in congress and state legislatures seek to privatize the VA for more war related, blood money, profit making, the peoples Responsibility! I say let us fall off the cliff, that way everyone Sacrifices Finally as we demand the soldiers and families of to, we already have and landed on the only ledge, as you all pull at our feet while making some progress back to the plateau and level ground so we can rebuild what we once had and move forward from that,  while you're pushing the country off that to economic oblivion!! The wealthy enhanced their wealth off these wars in their investments in especially the no bid contracts or directly with same!!

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:22:24 PM PST

  •  I don't get the strategy here. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence, Mayfly, venger

    You show that your caucus won't vote for a "watered down" version.  All that that does is to tell the President to go "down the slight incline" because negotiation is impossible.

    Boehner is going to clearly lose this vote in his caucus and he's gonna get zero Democratic support.

    I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

    by AZphilosopher on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:23:21 PM PST

  •  I see one solution (6+ / 0-)

    go back to the 250,000 tax touching social security and tell the GOP.. This conversation has ended,
    Then go off the cliff and start from scratch with a New Deal after the tea party is over.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:29:09 PM PST

    •  Good, Vetwife, and I'd throw in lowering Medicare (6+ / 0-)

      age eligibility to 60 until Obamacare kicks in. Give the Repubs something to scream about.

      Fiscal conservative: a Republican ready to spend $5 to save a dime--especially if that dime is helping a non-donor.

      by Mayfly on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:39:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can tell the president has never bartered much (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Beastly Fool, venger, Mayfly

        because when they raise the price, then you go further than the orginial starting point.  He says throw in the 60....he says no revenue, you throw in a lot of stimulus....a lot of yelling...a lot of getting back to the original deal and then be prepared for an ultimatum.   rich people should never sit down at a neogitating table.
        They have no skin in the game really.  They are not mega billionaires and not poor or middle class.

        We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

        by Vetwife on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:55:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  it's cute when the dems act all big and tough (5+ / 0-)

    but we've seen this movie before, so we know that in the end they'll sell us all out.  Again.

    And we here will all cheer and clap and declare it the bestest thing ever.


  •  If it were me and my party, I'd want voters (0+ / 0-)

    in 2014 to remember who tried to get things done.
    Meanwhile, everybody hold hands and gun the bird.

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:29:57 PM PST

  •  The Tea Party Has Gotten So Dangerous To Our... (0+ / 0-) that any moderate Republicans left in the House need to join with Democrats and form a coalition speakership.  They can agree to divvy up committee chairs and even keep a Republican speaker -- just, for heavens sake, isolate the Tea Party!  Enough is enough.  They are holding the country, Boehner, and of course the President hostage.  I would bet that even after the cliff they will refuse to go along with the middle class tax cuts.

  •  Boehner holds no cards. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    His party is unpopular. He's unpopular among his party. His threats are empty, his proposed solutions are completely incoherent. He's obviously bluffing.

    And yet something tells me the Democrats are about to fold yet again despite having the upper hand.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:34:49 PM PST

  •  Since the Senate passed a different version (0+ / 0-)

    Does it go to conference?

    "Speak out, judge fairly, and defend the rights of oppressed and needy people." Proverbs 31:9

    by zdefender on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:36:15 PM PST

  •  They have no shame (0+ / 0-)

    I read the articles on the continuing funerals today.
    My deepest condolences are still in effect.
    The repukes ALWAYS twist the dialogue.
    I am so angry, I'd like to forgo ALL legislation, have Reid abolish the filibuster & the 1st bill passed be GUN CONTROL!

  •  People, wake up!! (4+ / 0-)

    There will NEVER be a deal.  Boehner has signed the Tax Pledge.  There is simply no way in hell he will agree to vote for any deal with net tax increases.  Period.  He is just wallowing around now trying to find a way to save face and make it appear that the deal could not be reached because the President is so intransigent and unreasonable.  That has been the game all along.

    Grover is pulling the strings here.  He gave his "blessing" to Plan B today.  Isn't that curious?  A tax increase on earnings of more than $1 million does not violate the pledge, but a tax increase on earnings of more than $250K does?  Hmmm.......  

    Boehner just wants it to appear that he is ready to stick it to "millionaires" but mean old Obama won't let him do it.

  •  Am I the only one that sees the irony (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence, navane50mg

    that the Republican's plan is called "Plan B"?

  •  Boehner can't even get a symbolic (0+ / 0-)

    vote on tax increases for millionaires without including other major cuts that gives back whatever little leverage he would gain with the President on this vote.

  •  A few notes on negotiating (0+ / 0-)

    First of all, I fund much to dislike about the proposed deal; that said, so does the other side (if you believe what they write about it).  

    That said, there are a few claims about negotiation being proposed above (in the comments) that aren't true.

    1) Since Obama has proposed X, we will never get anything better than X.

    In some places, this can be true--in labor negotiations, for instance, withdrawing offers once made can be considered an Unfair Labor Practice.  But in general, this is not true.  Offers in real estate all come with expiration dates; and as anyone who has bought a vehicle notes, a favorite tactic by the dealership is to have the salesman make an offer to get you into the room, and then the sales manager veto it.

    Nothing that I'm aware of binds Obama to the offer, forever--he could withdraw it; or he could use Senate leadership (Reid is in a better position to do this than Pelosi) as the "sales manager" who he has to satisfy.  Boehner is doing the same thing with his caucus--I'm sure quite a few ideas have been floated in private--no, the crazy tea partiers won't let me do that.

    2) Any final resolution will probably have something in it we don't like.  

    Many here call for going over the cliff; and I agree that the cliff ought not be regarded as quite the chasm the media makes it out to be.  Nobody dies on Jan 1, the country's credit rating does not go south, and any undesirable changes in tax law can be retroactively undone.

    And going over the cliff will certainly be good for the deficit.  (Assuming further recession does not dramatically lower revenues).

    That said, the fiscal cliff/curb/whatever probably would do some economic damage if the new taxes and spending were kept in place long term, including an adverse impact on many of the poor.  I'm thinking of lower-bracket rates, payroll taxes, and UI, mainly.  

    Given that there is a GOP House, some compromise will be necessary.  2010 was costly in that the House has been gerrymandered all to hell; it will probably not be for several terms before this can be undone (either lots more old white wingers will have to die off, or Democrats will have to re-take swing states and pull a Tom Foley, undoing GOP gerrymanders in between census periods.  Either that or we wait to 2020).

  •  I wonder though (0+ / 0-)

    IF the gop plays the PR well (but I doubt they can) they could sell it as a Democratic plan from 2010. And make the Democrats look unreasonable?

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