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President Barack Obama and House Republican Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) gesture while Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) look on during a meeting of bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate.
With three days before taxes go up and unemployment benefits run out, President Obama will give it one last try this afternoon with Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate:
President Obama will meet with Congressional Leaders at the White House tomorrow afternoon re #FiscalCliff
@pfeiffer44 via Twitter for iPhone
The meeting will take place at 3:00 PM ET. With so little time before the end of the year, it's difficult to imagine a deal that would do much more than offer a temporary reprieve accomplishing little other than giving Congress a chance to go on vacation before coming back to battle over "Fiscal Cliff, Part 2."

Here's a reminder of some of the things that need to be addressed:

  • Extend middle-class tax cuts
  • Extend unemployment benefits
  • Extend the alternative minimum tax patch
  • Extend the Medicare "doc fix"
  • Deal with other tax rates, including dividends, capital gains, and the estate tax
  • Come up with stimulus to replace the expiring payroll tax holiday
  • Raise the debt ceiling
  • Reduce the severity of the sequester's spending cuts

If they can take care of all that in one meeting today, it will be a miracle. But if they merely kick the can down the road a couple of weeks, it will only guarantee that we're going to have to go through this all over again. It might make sense to do that if Congress merely needed more time to get the deal done, but Congress has had all the time in the world and the last thing we should be giving them is more of it. We're not going to be able to deal with the "fiscal cliff" until congressional Republicans to stop holding the economy hostage—and taking the pressure off them with a tiny punt won't do the job.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:40 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Add one more item to your List: (16+ / 0-)

    Extend John Bohner's Speakership of the House.
    Well, at least that's whats on Bohner's List.

    Notice: This Comment © 2012 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:47:17 AM PST

    •  At this point (19+ / 0-)

      ... the country might be better off with Eric Cantor as speaker.  At least he might be able to strike a deal his caucus could go along with.  After his re-election, would Boehner even then dare to break the Hastert rule, and let a bill go through without the majority of Republicans voting for it?  Nothing in his history so far suggests he would.

      Boehner's inability to pass any kind of bill through the House has been the only thing preventing the president from giving away terrible concessions so far.  Let's hope Boehner's incompetence continues to save us until a better Congress is sworn in next week.

      Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

      by Dallasdoc on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:51:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The baggers don't trust Cantor either (7+ / 0-)

        Cantor doesn't have the backing from enough Boehner loyalists to take him down.

        The prblem with the baggers is that they have no leader in The House. No guy on a white horse, they are just united in being against everything.

        •  I don't think any Republican House member (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tool, wishingwell, citizenx, RUNDOWN

          that wants a future in politics wants the Speaker post at this time.

          Notice: This Comment © 2012 ROGNM

          by ROGNM on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:06:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The headless chicken caucus (9+ / 0-)

          You gotta wonder how much damage their aimless rampaging is going to do before the rest of their party gets together to isolate them, out of self-defense.  How cowardly will they eventually prove to be?  Boehner is certainly the head of the coward's caucus, but even he has tried to rope them in to some minimal degree without seeing much help from his followers.

          Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

          by Dallasdoc on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:14:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Gertrude Stein: There is no there there (12+ / 0-)

            The GOP does not exist as a recognizable party.  No one actually liked their nominee, whose son now says he never wanted to run, anyhow.   The RNC was an utter disaster.  Their de facto party leader is an Oxycontin abusing talk radio gasbag.  Other than minimizing taxes for the .05%, they have no governing ideology.

            I'm not sure what the point is of having a summit w/ people who have no leadership and no command authority.  Perhaps the president should meet w/ Rush one on one and cut out the middlemen.

            Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

            by RFK Lives on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:30:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why meet with Republicans at all? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RFK Lives, Catkin, sxp151

              At the risk of sounding crass, this whole thing was a clusterfuck from the beginning because of all this bi-partisanship nonsense.

              The House passed a bill to deal with this. That gave the senate license to pass their own, diametrically-opposed bill - formulated in conjunction with the WH - with the president standing firmly behind it. All that was needed at that point was the 2012 campaign Obama taking his plan to the people...the same people who had just voted him back into office.

              Instead, Obama allowed Republicans to run out the clock. Now, when the country dives off the cliff and the economy back into recession, Republicans can stand back and point fingers for 2 years. And why not? It worked in 2010 for them, and now they have less ground to make up to take back the senate.

              This whole demonstration of lack of leadership makes me puke. Worst of all, taxes will go up on working-class families, wholesale cuts will take place, and 3 million people will lose jobless benefits they need to survive.

              But hey, we can always blame Republicans..because, you know, people can still eat that way.

              •  "Obama allowed Republicans to run out the clock" (5+ / 0-)

                You're on another planet.

                2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                by TRPChicago on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:43:12 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Do you really think the GOP leadership wanted... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RFK Lives, sxp151, RUNDOWN

                  ...a deal to avert this?

                  Is that what you think they were aiming at when Boehner offered his pitiful Plan B?

                  No offense intended here, but YOU seem to be living on another planet if you think Obama has been negotiating with people acting in good faith. His predilection toward "bi-partisanship" allowed them to steamroll precisely where they want to go: off the fiscal cliff.

                  Look at it this way:

                  The GOP knew full well that one way or another, taxes were going to go up on the wealthy. The only question was, will taxes go up on those who will scream holy hell about it? Let's face it...when taxes go up on the wealthy, they will grumble, but life goes on...just like post-1993. But this isn't the economy of the 90s and the working class economic situation is not congruent. Raising the taxes of the 98% will cripple this shaky will taking away jobless benefits of 3 million Americans.

                  The endgame for Republicans was ALWAYS going off the cliff...and once we jump, they won't have to do a thing. They won't come scrambling back to the table to save the working class. They can just sit there and point the finger as conditions deteriorate leading to the 2014 midterms.

                  Obama gave Republicans exactly what they wanted...and what's worse, they tipped their hand with the Plan B mishap, yet our side didn't capitalize on it and push our plan through.

                  Deny it all you want, but history will prove my perceptions correct. The GOP always intended to take the economy down with them. Now, we get to hold hands with them as it unfolds.

                  •  I didn't mean to be rude, but this requires ... (5+ / 0-)

                    ... both sides of the table being (1) willing and (2) able to make a deal, and then (3) make it stick.

                    The President can. Boehner can't. McConnell probably won't, although the Senate GOP is more attendant to what Wall Street, bankers and others are counseling about the Cliff and the debt ceiling.

                    As for up-to-the-cliff-end bargaining, I think it's philosophical and that's why it will happen again and again with this GOP-controlled House. I don't agree "[T]he GOP always intended to take the economy down with them." I think a significant number of House GOP members are in denial that's the effect of what they're doing.

                    I do not think "Obama gave Republicans exactly what they wanted." Had he, we'd have screamed. (Well, you have me there. We seem to scream anyway.)

                    As for your statement,  "... our side could have capitalized on it and push[ed] our plan through," help me understand:

                    - what's the "it"?
                    - what would we/Obama have "pushed" with?
                    - what would have made enough House Republicans yield?

                    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                    by TRPChicago on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:09:06 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  When Wall Street Tanks ... (0+ / 0-)

                    The Billionaires will "feel it" too, and will wish they had taken the tax deal when billions of their wealth evaporate unlike anything the tax man could take.

                    The deals will be made, probably already have - everything else is the "face saving" life preserver for the GOP moderates.

                    Everyone will lose "something", no comparison to what the Left would have lost with Romney.

                    You know, the current laughable House bill that was all set for Willard's rubber stamp.

                    Things that can be restored ... in a later Congress.

                    One thing's for sure, the extinction of the last piece of "legacy" legislation -with the name "Bush" on it.

                    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

                    by RUNDOWN on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 01:05:15 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Many things here I would take issue with (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jeff Simpson

                but let's just start with this one:

                "Now, when the country dives off the cliff and the economy back into recession, Republicans can stand back and point fingers for 2 years."
                I don't think so. This is not 2010 and Obamacare.  Polls repeatedly show who Americans are blaming.  From a diary this morning on one more of those polls.
                Five times more Americans (27% to 6%) are likely to blame the GOP House for this mess than blame Congressional Democrats.   Nearly twice as many (27% to 16%) blame the GOP House than those who blame President Obama.
                Obama won the election by promising to raise taxes for the rich. It's a pretty popular concept right now, and it's not lost on Americans that the GOP is doing everything they can to obstruct those middle class tax cuts to protect the rich.

                "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

                by StellaRay on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:22:21 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  I've been reading the Conservablogs… (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        To the true believers Cantor=Boehner, they want a true believer in charge.

        Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

        by DemSign on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:03:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That would be hilariously unlikely (0+ / 0-)

        A "Jew" in charge of the Christian Fundy Nuts.

  •  Thankfully he's not in the room alone with Boehner (7+ / 0-)

    (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

    by TrueBlueDem on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:48:13 AM PST

  •  Does anyone notice a similarity between this... (13+ / 0-)

    ...and the never-ending talks about the sovereign debt of Greece? (Those have been going on for years, too.)

    1.) (Temporary) "Resolution"

    2.) (Months later) "Confrontation" and "Drama"

    3.) Rinse. Repeat.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:53:07 AM PST

  •  Now would be a good time... (27+ / 0-)

    ...for the Progressives in the Senate to send a signed letter stating they will vote against any 'deal' that includes any cuts to Social Security, like the Chained-nonsense.

    They only need 5 or 6 Senators to sign on to vastly change the likely dynamic of the coming last-minute negotiations.

    Our Fair City...a campy post-apocalyptic science fiction radio epic!

    by The BBQ Chicken Madness on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:54:20 AM PST

    •  which would be countered with a GOP pledge (0+ / 0-)

      to vote against "deal" that doesn't.

      Where's your dynamics?

      •  The GOP has already made that pledge (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cslewis, PhilJD, TKO333, wishingwell, ferg, Bayardo

        it's high time the Democrats stopped giving in.

        A. SS is fiscally sound for now. Why do we have to cut it now...since when do politicians EVER worry about future shortfalls?

        B. Medicare and Medicaid are solved by single payer. Let's leave those programs in place until we get what the rest of the free world has.

        -7.5 -7.28, A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond.-Don Van Vliet

        by Blueslide on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:10:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We don't have single payer.. we have ACA (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I would have loved to see single payer come to being.  But we got Obamacare instead.  

          There is no "solving" Medicare and Medicaid with single payer.. Obama had his chance and threw out single payer on day one.  We will not revisit health care for decades.

          •  I'm not going to give up (0+ / 0-)

            Single payer is the only way to go and not having it may be our economic down fall. Yes we have ACA and that process torpedoed any opportunity at a truly affordable health care plan for now. Some say single payer is not doable, I believe it is not an option.

            -7.5 -7.28, A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond.-Don Van Vliet

            by Blueslide on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:06:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  They will not create single payer...I think we can (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bon Temps

          give up on this dream for the time being.  It could have been done before and for whatever reason they chose not too.  

          •  This issue, like many others, could change rapidly (0+ / 0-)

            and dramatically if the Republican Party collapses completely, and I think there's actually a chance of that happening.  Yeah, the House (and the party at large) (and its constituency) is full of true believers right now.  But not even the most passionately held beliefs can hold up for long under the weight of as much extremism, illogicality, denial of obvious truths, and failure of results as the Repubs' beliefs have exhibited.  

            Much of this thread has been concerned with the specter of Republicans "pointing the finger" at Democrats about the failure of the economy.  And yeah, the Repubs will do that, inevitably, and there'll be some voters dumb enough to buy it, as always.  But the Repubs are running out of room to do that, logically speaking.  To anyone with any serious idea what's going on, it's pretty clear that finger-pointing makes much more sense when it goes the other way.  

      •  Republicans would not sign such a pledge (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bayardo, Bon Temps

        What our side doesn't seem to get is that the Republican strategy since 2009 has been to campaign against Democrats from the left when it comes to Social Security and Medicare cuts. I never saw a single "tea party" campaign ad during the 2010 campaign, but I saw tons of ads about Democrats cutting Medicare.

        Republicans certainly want these things cut, but they don't want their fingerprints on it, which is why they won't make any specific proposals now and why they won't write a pledge either.

  •  Let's get this done (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ROGNM, randallt

    Let Speaker Pelosi release enough blue dogs to get Boehner elected on the first ballot, the repubs will nominate him because the baggers don't trust Cantor either.

    Enough of the republican obstructionism, America has grown weary of it on both sides. Figure out if the repubs actually want to get anything positive to happen at all and let's get the road map set.


    •  Last time a Democrat voted for a Republican speake (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      They were kicked out of the party and every committee assignment, and later went to jail.

      I would laugh for days if Pelosi became speaker over a Republican majority.

      Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

      by MrAnon on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:46:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There isn't enough proof for you already, that... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citizenx, rlochow

      ... Republicans do not want anything "positive" (as we would define it) to happen?

      True, not every one is in thrall with the Tea Party, but they're acting like it. This will come as a surprise to both Senate and House Republicans ... they are fully capable of influencing each other or deferring to leaders. Instead, those who would speak up almost invariably hunker down and get really quiet. Oh, they mill about importantly now and then and some harumpf the Party Line for camera time, but if any harbor views other than less/smaller/no government and don't-blame-us-for-that-debt-crises-sequester-thingy, they are very hard to find.

      They didn't come to Congress to earn anything. They came to do a very limited number of things. And seemingly, by their lights, they're doing them well.

      (We saw this same phenomenon in the Democratic campaigns for election/re-election to Congress in 2010. Many didn't feel comfortable sticking up for what they did accomplished from 2008 to 2010, so they shucked and ducked and dithered.)

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:55:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I remeber reading somewhere (actually... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx, skillet, Love Me Slender, Torta a few places), where it's healthy for couples (that have been together for any serious amounts of time) to schedule sex, too. As for me, I like the spontaneity of (not "scheduling" it) it all! LOL!

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:56:03 AM PST

    •  we've been f*cked enough by these folks (9+ / 0-)

      thank you

    •  I don't know, Bob...the anticipation when you know (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobswern, randallt are going to have sex can be pretty sweet. It's like a pressure cooker building throughout the day...almost insufferable when you really love your partner :)

      •  Yeah, I guess it's a slow news day. (LOL!) n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Love Me Slender, randallt

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:04:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A big part of me hopes you're wrong... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobswern, randallt

          ...and that our leaders will do what is best for our economy...and our country.

          History tells me that you're right, and that nothing will come of today's meeting. What a sad state of affairs public policy making has become in this country.

          •  No deal was ever possible before Jan 2013. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The whole point of the negotiations up to to now was to try to influence who gets the blame AFTER we go off the cliff.  It was always so.

            You have to remember that a majority of Republicans would face no threat of losing their seats even if we had a full-scale Depression that a majority of Americans blamed on the Repubilcans.  This is because a minority of Americans (but a majority of Republicans) would blame Obama for said Depression.

            Therefore, there can NEVER be a deal if it requires a majority of the majority.  NO Republican can make a deal until after Jan 3.   A deal becomes possible for Republicans if and only if one of the Republicans clearly get the blame for the negative effects of the cliff as revealed by a lot of polling.  

            This would be because the Republican leader would like to continue being Speaker.  Although a majority of Republicans individually are safe no matter how bad things get, Republican control (and the speakership) are not 100% safe  in the event of severe economic pain that is blamed on Republicans.  But whoever is leader still has to wait until after Jan 3 (or he may not stay as leader), and furthermore he has to wait for opinion on blame and the amount of pain to gel.

            I believe a simple bill that cuts taxes for most Americans would have a chance of being actionable sometime in January or February because such a vote would not necessarily bring a primary challenges.  Anything on spending is flatly impossible.

    •  i have to schedule the spontaneity!...just kidding (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      actually my life is like a cialis commercial - "it's like seeing her for the first time!"...just kidding again

      Coming Attraction: "Tea Party II - now with more stupid!"

      by memofromturner on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:08:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Useful to know... married 2 years, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobswern, rlochow

      and it is easy to slide into a routine of dinner, tv/computer/reading time, partner 1 eventually gets tired and goes to bed, partner 2 eventually follows, rinse/repeat, ....

      .... and several weeks go by.

      I was looking for a couple more New Years Resolutions, you just might have offered a good one.  So thanks for the tangent!

  •  Golly....the House is gonna look really stupid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    meeting at 6:30 on Sunday.

  •  Obama and negotiating is scary (4+ / 0-)

    Some of us may call it surrendering to republicans.

    •  Really? Any room for negotiating, then, at all? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostboyjim, wishingwell

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:56:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As I've asked before (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rachel2012, JanL, rlochow, Camussie

      can someone on these boards and threads name ONE THING the Left/Obama is willing to give up on that the GOP actually wants?

      Mind you, I WANT not only the Bush tax cuts to expire and the middle class rates re-instated, but I WANT the Capital Gains rate raised to 50%, the Dividend Rate raised to 50% (both with an indexed-exemption on the first $75,000 so middle class & poor folks who have these can still collect them unmolested). I WANT the AMT fixed, the Medicate "doc fix" fixed permanently, the Soc. Sec. Cap lifted AND extended to Dividend and Capital Gains, the "carried interest" loophole closed, unemployment benefits EXTENDED and RAISED, Social Security benefits RAISED, the (Senate) Farm Bill passed, the minimum wage DOUBLED, and the TBTF banks broken yesterday.

      But as a thought exercise, what EXACTLY is ONE ITEM the Left would give up (that the GOP wants) to get a deal done, so both sides walk away with SOMEthing?

      (I keep adding "that the GOP wants" to cut off useless answers like "I'm willing to give up raising the cap on Social Security contributions beyond the current $110K"...which is something the LEFT wants, framed as a concession, that the GOP does not want at all.)

      If you are negotiating from a "I get everything, you get nothing" approach (see USSR, Molotov, Dobrynin, et. al., 1917-1991) you are not negotiating you are asking for unconditional surrender...and the GOP will not do that.

      The top list things I want and what a whole lot of people on these boards WANT...but what ONE THING will someone give up to get, let's say THE WHOLE PACKAGE?

      Just curious.


      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:43:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  nothing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sxp151, rlochow

        Why? They got nearly every single conservative wet dream passed under Bush and destroyed the world economy. Literally there was nothing that they asked for tht they did not get.

        War? Check

        Tax cuts? Check.

        Deregulation of  the financial sector? Check.

        Deregulation of environmental standards? Check.

        What have liberals or progressives gotten besides incrimintalim, pragmatic, third way policies like ACA instead of Single payer?

        They want a seat at the table? Then stop being batshit crazy insane. They lost the election in a massive way and now that we have we have to listen to the same people tell us that we have to compromise.

        Sorry - I am tired of the fact that even when we win we still lose.

      •  Let the Bush Tax Cuts expire for EVERYONE. Check (0+ / 0-)

        out the "Tax Reform" that is coming down the pike.  Here's a link to the Bowles-Simpson proposal, "The Moment of Truth."

        Average income earners (under $125,000 or so) will be better off going back to the "Pre-Bush" tax rates, than they will be when the Administration and the Republicans complete their "tax reform package" next year.  

        You know, the tax reform package that "lowers the marginal tax rates for the wealthy and the corporations, by broadening the base."

        Don't take my word for it.  Read Section II of The Moment of Truth.  It lays it all out.

        Remember folks, this is only a "temporary" measure (raising taxes on top income brackets).  

        How on earth is it "balanced" to trade "permanent  cuts" to the social safety net, for a one year extension of the tax rates on the wealthiest Americans?


  •  I'm betting a deal is made today... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eddieb061345, rlochow

    Deals never get done unless there is a deadline.  I just hope Pres Obama doesn't really believe Boehner and the GOP leadership are nihilists and gives up the farm again.

    The NRA is the Gun Manufacturer Lobby. Nothing more. Their pontification about the second amendment is nothing more than their ad jingle. They're the domestic version of the Military Industrial Complex.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:03:11 AM PST

    •  The only things that really need to get done (7+ / 0-)

      Are unemployment, the doc fix, and the debt ceiling.

      Everything else can wait. Really, it can.

      Fix taxes, make it retroactive to the beginning of the year, and send people rebates. Amt fix can wait even longer, since it won't really be felt until people do their 2013 taxes, at the start of 2014.

      Sequestration would be bad, but not the end of the world. And could be fixed later in january, after the new congress is in session and some of the worst of the republicans are gone.

      Unemployment will hurt people bad. So will not doing the doc fix. And some thing needs to be done about the debt ceiling mess.

      •  Tax increases are felt when withholding begins. (0+ / 0-)

        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:57:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually… (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tool, wishingwell, ferg, rlochow

        Unemployment is the only thing that absolutely, positively must get done. Debt ceiling, milk fix, doc fix, taxes can wait for a new Congress and can be handled retroactively.

        Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

        by DemSign on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:16:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And actually, that might be better (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wishingwell, rlochow

          People will notice if milk goes up a lot. They'll notice if they have less in their paychecks. They'll make a huge stink, and more than that, THEY WON'T FORGET. Those thing stick with you.

          They'll blame the republicans. And if the media starts to forget, Obama will make sure they bring it back up.

          •  We don't know who they will blame. That's a big (0+ / 0-)

            "hope they do" in my opinion.  

            Sure, we know it's republicans that are at fault here....but we really have no clue who the low info public will turn on when their paychecks are suddenly smaller, no more unemployment, food skyrockets, people lose jobs and the market does whatever it will do.

            That is a big, huge guess on who they will ultimately blame.  We do know that this will not be easy or looked upon favorably....even if jumping the "cliff' is the best thing to do at this moment.  

            The low info voting public, however, is a fickle mind and no one knows what or who they will blame this on.  We need to push the MEME now that no deal is for the best as the alternative of cutting SS was not acceptable....but we certainly shouldn't assume that the public will see all fault as it should be seen because history has proven in times past that the public is not very informed.  We should not wait to see if they accept that it is the fault of the republicans.  

  •  What about a big punt? Postponing everything a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, condorcet

    year, giving the economy more time to recover before the anti-stimulus of budget cuts and tax increases.

    Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    by We Won on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:04:44 AM PST

    •  depends on top bracket i think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but as a general rule if we turn off the austerity bomb, it's basically dealing with the problem, and a year seems like a long enough time to justify a punt. sure it'd be lame. but whatever.

    •  Nope! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IM, sxp151, rlochow

      There will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be an excuse to not raise taxes--or in this case, let cuts expire.  Meanwhile, we're digging the hole deeper and refusing to fund necessary government functions.  The ONLY responsible action is to make the tough choice and start paying for government.  

      We should have let the Bush cuts expire the first time we had the chance.  

      Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

      by Mark Mywurtz on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:42:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  NO - that would be Obama betrayal of Base (0+ / 0-)

      If Obama agrees AGAIN to extend the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy, after he caved for 4 years in his first term, that would likely be considered a betrayal by Obama of the Base that reelected him.  That would mean a lot less enthusiasm (and $$) from the Base for the Massachusetts Senate special election and for 2014 candidates.  For Obama to cave again on tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 - 2% could mean serious problems for the Democrats.  

      If he tries that, I assume some Democratic Senators would filibuster the "cave in" deal.

      •  I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

        Neither Obama nor Senate Dems can be accused of EVER having given a shit what the base wants, now or ever.   I can't see either of them suddenly caring now.  

      •  The entire "tax the rich" meme was created to (0+ / 0-)

        distract from the fact that the Administration is willing to trade cuts to the social safety net programs, in exchange  for what?  A one-year extension of the Bush/Obama tax cuts for the top two tax brackets.  

        Don't forget, the mandate (per Bowles-Simpson's The Moment of Truth proposal) is "Tax Reform."

        Nothing would be a greater betrayal of "the base" than the cutting (much less slashing) of Social Security, Medicare and/or Medicaid.

  •  Look out Itchy! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's bipartisan.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:05:17 AM PST

  •  I really wish Obama had taken the Reagan approach (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    forgore, rlochow these negotiations. That is, get together with Democrat leaders in congress, put together a plan that accomplishes a whole lot of what we want, yet gives a single, significant concession to the opposition (i.e. Obama's $400,000 from $250,000 concession)...then take his detailed plan directly to the American people.

    Reagan was brilliant at this...and Obama is a similar likeable communicator. It would have worked...FOUR WEEKS AGO.

    At this point, I don't think the public will like what results because it will be curt and rushed. There was no genuine leadership on display during this process...NONE.

    •  Gee, I guess you must have nodded off (8+ / 0-)

      and missed the entire presidential campaign we just had.

      •  I missed nothing...I heard the rhetoric... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        John Boehner is low-hanging fruit. Of course he is a selfish, spoiled representative of a gaggle of greedy bastards who care nothing about the health and well-being of the country.

        But Obama and Reid share some blame in this as well. Harry Reid is terrific at standing and telling others who is to blame for a mess. He has led very little where ACTION is concerned...and by action, I don't mean espousing progressive views. I mean putting together a comprehensive, detailed plan in conjunction with the White House...then putting that plan to a vote in the senate.

        The Senate already has a House version of a bill to avoid the fiscal cliff, but they could have passed their own plan and had Obama trumpeting it all along the way. You spoke of the tell me, why did the president put away those considerable communication skills instead of taking them to the people and the crowds who adore him?

        What has transpired is a lack of leadership. Obama and congressional Democrats do not get a pass because of the (D) by their names. They had an obligation to lead...and as a result of their failure, we are about to get across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases on those who can afford them the least. We will dive back into recession...and the Republicans will be all too happy to watch it continue as they cast their gaze on 2014 and taking Senate back.

        People here seem resigned to a misguided notion that we can fix all this after we jump off the cliff. My response would be, what makes you think Republicans care at that point? They have little more to lose...they already lost the WH and Senate. They can afford to go all-in. Meanwhile, the American public will suffer greatly...including 3 million depending on jobless benefits.

    •  it worked for Reagan (0+ / 0-)

      because conservative Southern House Dems were worried about being replaced by more conservative Southern House Republicans.  As in fact happened anyway.

      I suppose there are a few Northern House Republicans who might have to worry for their seats, but redistricting after 2010 helped their careers immensely.  The bigger risk to them is from primaries / outside spending.  It's a structural thing.

      That said, I think Obama gets what he wants on tax rates; Panetta calls his own shot on the Pentagon cuts; and the question then becomes what kind of spending cuts get averted, which is where the House has a lot of leverage. Put another way, many of the elements on the bulleted list, plus things Republicans would demand (possibly including entitlement cuts), are in opposition to each other.  The fact of the debt ceiling being more imminent than previously thought means Obama can't really refuse to negotiate over it, as he planned to refuse come early 2013.  Further, the Republicans might want to drive us into a recession - a consequence of not doing the above - to blame Obama.  

      The best way to avoid it is for both sides to recognize that we have no short term deficit problem, but that gets back to the structural problems with Republicans.  "Debt" and "deficits" for them are always code for domestic spending  they don't like.  

      What happens?  I say it's about even odds they cut a deal, and as with TARP, if it needs Dem votes, they'll be there. Whatever the shape of the deal will be, before or after, it's better than defaulting in 2011, and better than what would have prevailed if Romney won -- indeed, the whole point of the sequestering was that each side bet fiscal priorities on the outcome of the election, which, thanks to 2010 redistricting, was mixed.

      The other risk to Republicans isn't just giving in on spending cuts, it's the inability to stall for 4 years, meaning there's time and space to move to substantive legislation.  Remember, the GOP has their number one priority making Obama a two term President.  So, I'd favor a deal, get it the fuck over with, and play for seats in 2014 (hard, unless we see continued improvement in the economy -- but harder if no deal means contraction).

      Taken together, the best option is to give the House just enough that enough of their members can't reject it, which is not what anybody really wants to hear.

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:32:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My preception of the GOP is that some of them... (0+ / 0-)

        ...want to work with Obama to fix this. I know how crazy that sounds, but the non-crazies in that party who care about America don't want to see people suffer...nor do they want to be blamed by their constituents when things go really, really bad.

        I don't know that anything useful can be done at this point. Right after the election was the time to seize the moment and push a progressive response. Now, the public is justifiably skeptical of both sides...and while taxes will go up on the wealthy, a whole lot of working people and people out of work will suffer when we hit the cliff. I am fearful of what will happen if we sink back into recession and the GOP leadership points fingers for two years. If they get the senate and hold the house, a grand bargain will look like gold compared to the budgets that will come out of that congress.

        •  well, OFA is doing just that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mmacdDE, Egalitare, rlochow

          but this is partly hangover from 2010.  The R's who got defeated have no reason to compromise; those who survived can be more confident going into the next midterms.  On the merits, one would rather negotiate with the incoming Congress (more favorable partisan balance), but that means going over the cliff.  So, tea party's last hurrah.  

          I'm nevertheless generally skeptical of the ability of PR to overcome fundamentals.  Can't completely abandon the fight, of course, but nobody is.

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:01:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The problem with that is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        They won't take it. They wouldn't even take it when boehner proposed it.

        The only way anything gets passed is with a lot of dem votes and a few sane republicans. But right now, boehner won't do that because it would kill his chances for the speakership next session.

        After he's elected speaker, it doesn't matter any longer, and we'll see something reasonable.

        But not this year.

        •  They wouldn't take it (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wishingwell, Beetwasher, Egalitare

          to the extent they'd have to be the first to jump.  The issue there was the internal house caucus vote.  Plan B's problem was that it couldn't get Democratic support, and therefore depended entirely on House R's.  Obama quite successfully got the Republicans to prove they can't pass anything on their own.

          But to add to points - I don't think the Pentagon completely walks away unscathed.  Panetta probably appreciates the political cover to make cuts.

          Secondly, I appreciate that Chained CPI is objectively a bad thing, and isn't worth trading for the doc fix plus AMT patch.  But throw in UI, the debt ceiling, and additional short-run stimulus, it looks less awful.  Insofar as the overall baseline budget cut number is there, it's a no-win scenario, and it's always implicitly "on the table."  But given the importance of Democratic votes for passage of anything, i can't see entitlement cuts included, at the possible price of not extending the payroll tax holiday or seeing the lower bound for tax increases go up to something like half a mil (as long as Republicans are counting, taxes don't contribute to the deficit).  Still probably for the best, but we'd need final numbers.

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:57:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thankfully, a post that acknowledges negotiating (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wishingwell, Beetwasher, Egalitare

            ... involves weighing what it's worthwhile to give to get what it's worth more to have.

            We (I include me) don't usually practice that necessary art of bargaining and strategy on Daily Kos.

            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:49:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I Would Go For Reduction In Defense Sequestration (0+ / 0-)

            In return for some things, like UI extension, Food Stamps, Payroll tax extension and additional stimulus...

            This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: []

            by Beetwasher on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:04:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Of course, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but this all has to fall under the general heading of deficit reduction or the bill never passes, which makes a compromise involving more spending on both domestic and defense a tougher sell to the House.  This is especially the case if the only increased revenue is raising taxes on higher incomes.  Whatever does get cut, it's still a better outcome than hitting the debt ceiling last August, though.  

              Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

              by Loge on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:11:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Extra Revenues from The Tax Hikes (0+ / 0-)

                would fall into that category. But you may be right in that the House Repubs will only accept some figleaf that purports to reduce spending.

                This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: []

                by Beetwasher on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:04:53 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Reagan was brilliant? (0+ / 0-)

      Alrighty then.

      48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam this Holiday Season!

      by randallt on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:50:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Put it live on CSPAN (14+ / 0-)

    they've had enough alone time, time for the nation to look in on the kids.

  •  pray for a "temporary fix" (11+ / 0-)

    anything smelling of "grand anything" is gonna be horrible

    Coming Attraction: "Tea Party II - now with more stupid!"

    by memofromturner on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:12:11 AM PST

  •  Chaining CPI for SS will also be on that agenda (4+ / 0-)

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:21:28 AM PST

  •  Whenever you see the two words (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cazcee, emal, eddieb061345, rudy23, Tool, sxp151, rlochow

    Obama and negotiations arranged at close proximity you begin to worry, bad news is on her way and you know your back will soon bleed from a stab wound.


  •  is NOT accepting right wing f'king lies part of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Mywurtz, Tool

    the Democratic stratergery ...

    or,that doesn't fit into the right wing definition of bipartisanshit?


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:32:17 AM PST

  •  The SUV test as per MSNBC (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    forgore, wishingwell, JanL

    If the Principals rush to the Microphones there's a glimmer of hope.

    If If the Principals rush to the SUV's then off the Cliff we go.

    As the Elites Come Together to Rise Above to Find a Third Way to do Rude things to the 99%

    by JML9999 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:33:19 AM PST

  •  I hate (5+ / 0-)

    that I have reached the point when last minute anything makes me incredibly nervous. The only thing that should be accomplished today is the extension of unemployment benefits & and the extension of the taxes for the bottom 99%.

    Somehow I fear we will get cuts to social security, Medicare, and cat food all in the name of compromise and bipartisanship. I truly hope I am wrong but past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior and Obama is not a strong negotiator.

  •  Should the 'doc fix' be extended? (0+ / 0-)

    How exactly is it structured?  Is it 'pay per test', which is one reason that healthcare costs are already overpriced?

    If so, should the 'doc fix' simply be replaced with some other structure that incentivizes producing results, rather than simply grinding through as many patients as possible as quickly as possible?  And one that doesn't have to be continually reauthorized, as yet another economic hostage for Republicans?

  •  Whatever (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA, maryabein, wishingwell, ferg, sxp151, JanL

    I am over this. If a "deal" happens now it will be a temporary fix and we will go through this whole theater again (and again and again) for the next 4 years.

    I'm pretty tired of being told what I care about.

    by hulibow on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:37:37 AM PST

  •  JUMP!!!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rube Goldberg

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:37:59 AM PST

  •  ShoutOut to the Cons (0+ / 0-)

    Message to the boehner and mcconnel, along with your henchmen as well as the extremist jehadist teabags who were all extremely supportive of everything done under that bush and his tepub congresses, especially the rubber stamped no bid contracts all borrowed war costs for both wars of choice, after cheering on the abandoning the main missions for even sending the military into that region with the first drum beats pointed at Iraq, and with nothing of condemnation which has led this country right to where we are today after your teabag reps obstructed everything since!!, you love using phrases like 'the american people want', 'the american people demand', 'the american people.............',  never saying what a tiny percentage they were.Well The Real American People Spoke Loud And Clear In The Election, you lost seats in the Senate as well as the House and Obama was reelected by a big margin both by vote and electoral college, as to the economy and the Senate passage months back of the bill along with the proposals given by the executive branch long before and leading up to that election and have even given ground since while the lameduck house, especially, likes them long weekends and vacations from the jobs we pay them to perform, time to Do What The American People Really Told You What They Want, PERIOD!!!!!

    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 Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:41:43 AM PST

  •  Should all (0+ / 0-)

    of us 70+ million be at that meeting as well?


    May today be greater than yesterday, and tomorrow be greater than both! Go Ravens!

    by secret38b on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:41:58 AM PST

  •  A tiny punt gets 6 more Democrats in the House (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, maryabein, PhilJD, rudy23, jpmassar, ferg

    and makes sure everyone voting on whatever The Deal is will actually be standing before voters again.

    If we can dodge a Lame Duck vote, that's a good thing.

    "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

    by JesseCW on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:42:36 AM PST

  •  So why not wait a few days.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, jpmassar, ferg, sxp151

    let the tax rates re-boot, bring in 10 new House dems, an expanded majority in the Senate, and a Speaker in the House that has to deal with the Dem house members to get anything passes. He ain't getting shit done with the far-right idiot wing of his caucus.

    It seems to me this is the gop's last, best chance to get something they want.

  •  Temp Fix Is Fine For Now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, wishingwell

    We will be in even better position come January, with more Dems in Congress.

    There is a wildcard though, which is, does Boner maintain his speakership? And if not, what does that do to negotiations?

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: []

    by Beetwasher on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:45:48 AM PST

    •  I'm inclined to think it won't make a difference. (0+ / 0-)

      Whoever is speaker will still have the same gang of true believers, loose cannons, and assorted other lunatics to deal with.  Someone upthread was saying they don't like Cantor any better than Boehner.  Hard to believe as that is, it makes my point if it's true.  Whom do you see coming in as Speaker that would change things?  

  •  Milk: they also have to extend the Agriculture (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, JanL

    Act or the price of milk will go up.

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

    by ontario on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:46:04 AM PST

  •  House and Senate LEADERS? (0+ / 0-)

    Serusly? Blockers is a more appropriate word.

    "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 Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:47:34 AM PST

  •  I predict (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sxp151, rlochow

    The Rethuglicans are 1)Holding out for as much as they can get, considering Obama's giving them so much so early, why not! 2) Setting the appearance of fighting to the bitter end. The Democrats are 1) Holding out to the bitter end so Democrats and Progressives will be unable to mount an effective effort to stop it. How can the progreaaives and liberals be charged with forcing us over the "Cliff" 2) Giving the appearance of being bi-partizen.

    Disabled Viet Vet ret. My snark is worse than my bite

    by eddieb061345 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:48:41 AM PST

  •  GOP Don't Care (5+ / 0-)

    I can really relate to Robert Reich's article, Why Republicans Don't Care What the Nation Thinks.

    The GOP has lost its moorings, it has no leadership. The most radical House Republicans don't run nationally and don't care about national polls. They are only concerned with pleasing their radical conservative constituents in mostly rural districts lest they be challenged by someone even more extreme.

    I can attest to this phenomenon as I live in one of those areas. People here are completely nuts. The House is just a reflection of how nutty the Fox-News induced and now completely paranoid citizenry has become.

  •  Bloomberg: Obama offering scaled back deal (0+ / 0-)

    to congressional leaders.

    "There's been a little complication with my complication"

    by dash888 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:50:18 AM PST

  •  Rip the Bandaid Off (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and lets get to it.  One way or the other, they all seem to be leading us down the Same path--one side simply wants it faster than the other...imo
    The more liberal "non-corporatist" Dems are way outnumbered.
    When we ask that timeless q: Why do people keep voting against their own best interests?-we need to look in our own back-yards.

  •  It comes down to this…………………. (0+ / 0-)

    Boner can’t get anything out of the House that the Senate and POTUS will approve without losing his speakership in January.  

    Even if BHO, seeking the “Grand Bargain” he seems to want for his legacy, gives more; the Tehadists will not buy anything that raises taxes on the rich or does not persecute the poor and middle class.  

    We are going over the “monetary molehill,” into another recession and continued hostage taking by the Rethugs UNTIL we get 17 or so sane Rehtugs in the next congress to vote with the Dems on fixing things.

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:57:17 AM PST

  •  And the Kabuki continues (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gulfgal98, PorridgeGun, Tool, sxp151

    towards the 11th hour deal where all sides can declare victory and we get shafted.

  •  This govt is embarrassing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl

    I am sure they will cut some sort of temporary deal and put off the hard stuff. They never do anything until the last second and I am sick of the nonsense.
    The democrats need to win back the house or nothing will ever change. The American people constantly complain about the gridlock but keep voting so we always have gridlock!

  •  actually...there's only one thing (0+ / 0-)

    that needs to be addressed immediately: raising the debt ceiling. That's the only action that's required and one which Republicans are grossly negligent and incompetent in failing to even allow a vote on.

    This entire thing could be solved by one open vote on increasing the debt ceiling. Everything academic and can be addressed at a later point.

    (Although it would be far preferable to have additional votes by Congress on extending all tax cuts for those making under $250,000 and extending unemployment, as well)

  •  The zombie B word. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gulfgal98, PorridgeGun


    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:07:23 AM PST

  •  If there was a way out (0+ / 0-)

    the Prez and the Senate would have already seized it. But with the congress (really just the 40 or so tea baggers) obstructing all legislation what is the way out? My sense is the only way to marginalize the congress tea baggers is to  have the congress vote on the bill passed by the Senate. This bill is likely pass the house as it will have the support of the dems and some republicans in the house. Can Boehner be forced to bring the Senate bill for vote in the house? Or is his dictatorial power overwhelming?

    •  More like underwhelming (0+ / 0-)

      And it's more that any vote on that bill would have way more dems than republicans, and boehner can't have that.

      That's really been the sticking point on everything. He won't bring up anything the the GOP won't completely support, and the tea baggers won't support ANYTHING that is sane.

      There's probably a lot of things that might have passed, but they'd pass with either majority dem support or maybe equal support from both parties.

      He won't do that. Have you noticed that most of the bills they've actually managed to get through (and there aren't many) have had almost entirely GOP votes?

      It's because he won't even bring up anything that might have real bipartisan support.

  •  helium shortage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, condorcet

    Freeman is among the many florists and balloonists nationwide finding it harder to do business because the supply of helium -- a tasteless, odorless, colorless gas that inflates balloons and cools MRI machines -- is not just getting more costly, but also harder to find.

    Texas is home to the country's only Federal Helium Reserve, a site outside Amarillo where more than one-third of the world's helium supply is produced, and the federal government has worked for years to deplete that supply.

    Congress more than 15 years ago created a law requiring reserve officials to sell off their helium -- therefore privatizing the helium industry -- by 2015.

    "We cannot let our national helium supply float away," said U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-New York.

    Although it's the second-most abundant element in the universe, helium is running out.

    The bulk of the world's helium supply -- which also is used in medical scanners, LCD screens, welding, electronics, metals, fiber optics, high-tech computer chips, aerospace and research -- is created through natural radioactive decay and can't be artificially created.

    Federal officials created a federal helium program in 1925 to make sure they had adequate supplies of the gas for medicinal purposes, research and defense.

    Although various sites throughout the state supplied helium through the years, the remaining site - an underground geological formation that stores crude helium - is about 15 miles northwest of Amarillo.

    Workers there retrieve helium and pump it to customers connected to a nearly 450-mile pipeline that stretches from the Texas Panhandle through Oklahoma and to Kansas.

    Court says it's legal: firing an attractive assistant because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals - IOWA

    by anyname on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:23:53 AM PST

    •  sidebar: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO, condorcet


      After an oil drilling operation in 1903 in Dexter, Kansas, produced a gas geyser that would not burn, Kansas state geologist Erasmus Haworth collected samples of the escaping gas and took them back to the University of Kansas at Lawrence where, with the help of chemists Hamilton Cady and David McFarland, he discovered that the gas consisted of, by volume, 72% nitrogen, 15% methane (a combustible percentage only with sufficient oxygen), 1% hydrogen, and 12% an unidentifiable gas.

      With further analysis, Cady and McFarland discovered that 1.84% of the gas sample was helium.This showed that despite its overall rarity on Earth, helium was concentrated in large quantities under the American Great Plains, available for extraction as a byproduct of natural gas.

      This enabled the United States to become the world's leading supplier of helium. Following a suggestion by Sir Richard Threlfall, the United States Navy sponsored three small experimental helium plants during World War I. The goal was to supply barrage balloons with the non-flammable, lighter-than-air gas. A total of 5,700 m3 (200,000 cubic feet) of 92% helium was produced in the program even though less than a cubic meter of the gas had previously been obtained. Some of this gas was used in the world's first helium-filled airship, the U.S. Navy's C-7, which flew its maiden voyage from Hampton Roads, Virginia, to Bolling Field in Washington, D.C., on December 1, 1921.
      Although the extraction process, using low-temperature gas liquefaction, was not developed in time to be significant during World War I, production continued. Helium was primarily used as a lifting gas in lighter-than-air craft. This use increased demand during World War II, as well as demands for shielded arc welding. The helium mass spectrometer was also vital in the atomic bomb Manhattan Project.

      The government of the United States set up the National Helium Reserve in 1925 at Amarillo, Texas, with the goal of supplying military airships in time of war and commercial airships in peacetime.

      Because of a US military embargo against Germany that restricted helium supplies, the Hindenburg, like all German Zeppelins, was forced to use hydrogen as the lift gas. Helium use following World War II was depressed but the reserve was expanded in the 1950s to ensure a supply of liquid helium as a coolant to create oxygen/hydrogen rocket fuel (among other uses) during the Space Race and Cold War. Helium use in the United States in 1965 was more than eight times the peak wartime consumption.
      After the "Helium Acts Amendments of 1960" (Public Law 86–777), the U.S. Bureau of Mines arranged for five private plants to recover helium from natural gas. For this helium conservation program, the Bureau built a 425-mile (684 km) pipeline from Bushton, Kansas, to connect those plants with the government's partially depleted Cliffside gas field, near Amarillo, Texas. This helium-nitrogen mixture was injected and stored in the Cliffside gas field until needed, when it then was further purified.
      By 1995, a billion cubic meters of the gas had been collected and the reserve was US$1.4 billion in debt, prompting the Congress of the United States in 1996 to phase out the reserve.[4][28] The resulting "Helium Privatization Act of 1996"[29] (Public Law 104–273) directed the United States Department of the Interior to start emptying the reserve by 2005.
      For many years the United States produced over 90% of commercially usable helium in the world, while extraction plants in Canada, Poland, Russia, and other nations produced the remainder. In the mid-1990s, a new plant in Arzew, Algeria, producing 17 million cubic meters (600 million cubic feet) began operation, with enough production to cover all of Europe's demand. Meanwhile, by 2000, the consumption of helium within the U.S. had risen to above 15 million kg per year.

      In 2004–2006, two additional plants, one in Ras Laffan, Qatar, and the other in Skikda, Algeria, were built. Algeria quickly became the second leading producer of helium. Through this time, both helium consumption and the costs of producing helium increased. In the 2002 to 2007 period helium prices doubled.

      As of 2012 the United States National Helium Reserve accounted for 30 percent of the world's helium. The reserve was expected to run out of helium in 2018. Despite that a proposed bill in American Senate would allow the reserve to continue to sell the gas. Other large reserves were in the Hugoton in Kansas, United States and nearby gas fields of Kansas and the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma. New helium plants were scheduled to open in 2012 in Qatar, Russia and the United States state of Wyoming but they were not expected to ease the shortage.

      Court says it's legal: firing an attractive assistant because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals - IOWA

      by anyname on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:36:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  but there's no shortage of hot air (0+ / 0-)
  •  Thoughts on the "Cliff" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, Rachel2012, rlochow

    It's easy to talk tough and say "bring on the cliff.  the GOP will be blamed."  But that benefit only will last if there's a deal in January.

    What might happen if there's no early deal:

    1.  The cliff arrives.

    2.  The cliff lasts a month or more.  millions lose unemployment, demand decreases because of increased taxes, prices (e.g., milk).

    What are the alternatives:

    1.  No deal.  Continue the erosion of the economy and misery for the unemployed.  Economy falls into a new recession.

    2.  Deal (including, wealthy tax hike, unemployment ext., debt ceiling deal and yes, something like chained CPI.)

    What cannot be reversed:  The effects of (1), especially the longer the cliff is in effect -- notwithstanding polls showing voters blame the GOP, the Dems will likely be hurt in 2014 by the new recession.  In human terms, millions will suffer.

    What can be reversed:  The effects of (2):  In a Democratic Congress, whatever was included, e.g., chained CPI, can be reversed.  But first the Dems have to win Congress.

    Politically, (2) depends on framing the deal as the GOP forcing the benefit cuts.  (obviously the reason why it was a mistake for Obama to offer it).  But that may be remedied by PR from the President -- the SOTU, e.g., even running ads.

    All I'm saying is that there are no easy answers, and while "hang tough" is great now and for a week or two in January, it has a diminishing return benefit as things get worse.

    The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

    by Upper West on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:27:31 AM PST

  •  They need to fix the AMT and extend UI benefits (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, ferg

    If they can just do those two things as a stand alone bill, that would be ideal. The IRS has made it clear that the AMT has to be adjusted by 12/31 or a bunch of middle class Americans are going to get a nasty surprise when we file our taxes. People on unemployment can't wait it out while politicians bicker and grandstand. Beyond that, I hope they don't do anything else, we'll get a better deal if we go off the curb.

    Let's not let 2014 be anything like 2010. Republicans only win when we stay home!

    by Tim D M on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:37:22 AM PST

  •  No, Not Really (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    First, we don't want the tax cuts extended even for the middle class. That would be a tax cut. Taxes are not too high. Incomes are too low. If you are having problems paying your taxes you need more income. The key question is how are they going to get more income for American families?

    Second, we don't want a stimulus for the economy. The problem with the economy is not cyclical, it's structural. It's caused by bad trade policy, bad industrial policy, bad educational policy, bad patent laws, and generally the adherence to Republican economic ideas.

    Third, we don't need a Medicare "doc fix". What we need is publicly-funded healthcare across the board. We cannot afford to continue to spend over 15% of GDP on healthcare when sensible countries are paying about 10%.

    Forth, we should not just be fixing the AMT, we should replace it with a workable option. The group of people owning the bulk of the country's assets should be paying for the bulk of the federal budget. That would be something like a total limit of deductions (like the $50K limit I've seen floated) or a surcharge on incomes in the top 20%, which would automatically index each year because it would be on the top 20%. (And graduated so that the top 1% pay a higher rate, and the top .1% pay a higher rate than that, and the top .01% pay a higher rate than that.)

    We need to focus on the minimum wage and eliminating the trade deficit. Everyone wants people off government benefits. The way to reduce this spending is simple: Make sure people earn enough they don't need them.

    Jed Lewison, when we make our demands we should make sure that we don't accidentally buy into Republican thinking on them. The idea we need tax cuts of any kind is simply wrong, wrong, wrong. This is Republican thinking.

    The natural result of cutting is that eventually you have nothing. Democrats need to be focused on the top line. That's what built our economy in the first place, and it's the only thing that can revive it.

  •  What a circus... (0+ / 0-)

    My prediction is that Obama and Congress will agree on some sort of halfass measure, a band-aid that will keep the country afloat for awhile and push the hard decisions back in time.
    Chickenshit politics as usual....

    How can we have a third party when we don't even have a second party?

    by Eagleye on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:46:21 AM PST

  •  So yesterday there were reports (0+ / 0-)

    that Obama was going to surrender to Republicans.

    White House officials adamantly denied it, and some of us pointed out that this is how every surrender has happened in the past four years: float a surrender to Republican leaders without telling Democratic leaders, adamantly deny its existence until it's accepted, then present it as an unfortunate fait accompli.

    I guess I would have liked to know the actual text of the denial:

    It is absolutely false that we will in any way violate all our campaign promises and unnecessarily surrender everything to Republicans...on Thursday.
  •  Cut oil & gas subsidies, not Social Security! (0+ / 0-)

    White House petition to end corporate welfare here:

  •  Time For A Bipartisan Speaker (0+ / 0-)

    It's time for a bipartisan speaker.  I've posted a petition calling for just that at , and I'm urging both Boehner and Pelosi to withdraw their names as candidates for Speaker of the House.

    And I'm asking all of you, in fact I'm pleading with all of you, to please sign this petition, and let's break the gridlock that's threatening to derail the first two years of President Obama's second term.

    We know that Pelosi doesn't have a majority in the House.

    And it became clear last week that Boehner doesn't have a working majority either.

    It's time for both of them to step aside and give a bipartisan coalition a chance to do the job.

    Representatives Simpson (R-ID) and Shuler (D-NC) report that a letter they wrote, which concedes major points to both sides, now has the signature of forty representatives apiece from both parties, though they have not yet released the names.  Whether these eighty people could form the nucleus of a bipartisan coalition or not, the bottom line is that centrists have not been given a chance to step into the leadership vacuum and try their hand at solving this situation.  And in the wake of two years of gridlock, gridlock that's threatening to last another two years if recent events are any indication, it's become apparent that the current leadership structure in the House has become a millstone around President Obama's neck.

    If we want the president's second term to be a success then we must try something different, something new, something out of the box.

    Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, I'm calling on both of you to step aside from the election for Speaker on the 3rd of next month for the good of the country.  It's time, in fact it's overdue, to give someone else a chance.

    The American people spoke plainly in the election:  they re-elected President Obama, they added to the Senate's Democratic majority, and they took seats away from the Republicans in the House.  What is it about "House, you're doing a bad job" do you not understand?

    Thank you for your attention, your support and your signature!

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