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So I'm watching MSNBC, and all the talk is about Senator Mitch McConnell trying to work out some kind of deal on the so called fiscal cliff.  Harry Reid and McConnell made nice for the TV cameras, and speculation is rampant among the pundits that master negotiator McConnell will somehow craft a deal that passes before the end of the year.  It will be a scaled down deal that prevents tax increases on the middle class and extends unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed.

Don't bet on it.

Let's just focus on the most obvious obstacle to any deal:  Mitch McConnell; this is the same man who swore that his number one goal was defeating Obama and making him a one term president.  McConnell also shook hands with Harry Reid and promised to behave himself after the 2010 Election.  Reid - under the insane Senate rules or culture or whatever you want to call it - couldn't come out and call McConnell a liar.  Instead, Reid stated in a recent speech on filibuster reform that a handshake on filibusters wasn't going to cut it any more.  This was Senate speak for "I don't trust you Senator McConnell."

Only a few days ago, McConnell was still spreading his lies about this fiscal mess that Republicans created.  McConnell stated that nothing had been done in the Senate to address this artificial crisis.  As many on this blog have pointed out, the Senate already dealt with this issue.  McConnell went on to harp about how the same "nothing" that had been done was not sent over to the House for a vote.

If you have not done anything or voted on a bill in the Senate, how can you send the non-existent bill to the House?

Given McConnell's track record of lies, I don't trust him to negotiate in good faith.  McConnell may not be technically a Tea Party madman, but he has been kissing the Tea Party's collective ass.  All those filibusters in the Senate that McConnell engineered were done to placate the crazies and bigots back in Kentucky.  McConnell is unpopular with the Kentucky Tea Party, and he is scared of a primary challenge.  He has to be seen as NEVER compromising with evil, and evil is defined by a significant number of Kentuckians as helping Obama with anything.

Everything McConnell does has to be seen through that political prism.

So if I was a betting man, I'd say no deal is possible, especially with Mitch McConnell.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well, McConnell is the only hope (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CTMET, dougymi, winsock, VClib, buckstop

    of getting any deal, either now or after January 1, I think.  

    If McConnell can work out a deal with Reid that gets, say, 25 Republican votes in the Senate, that will give Boehner cover to allow a vote in the House, and that will give some Republicans in the House -- not the extreme right wing -- to vote for it as well.  That's the only way I see anything even coming up for a vote in the Senate or the House -- if it really is bipartisan, in the sense that it alienates the very progressive left, alienates the Tea Party right, and gets the votes of maybe half the Democrats and half the Republicans in the Senate, and the same in the house.  

    As far as I can see, a bill that is capable of garnering only a few Republican votes will not even get to the floor for a vote.  Certainly not in the House.  McConnell's backing of a bill is the only thing that I can see that will mean Boehner allows a bill to come to the floor of the House.  

    •  Help me Obie Wan McConnell you're my only hope. (9+ / 0-)

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

      by CTMET on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:14:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately, that's where things are right now. (0+ / 0-)

        If you want those 2 million people to keep their unemployment benefits, if you want the middle class not to owe a few thousand more this April on their 2012 returns (due to the AMT patch expiring), if you want taxes not to go up on everyone, Reid and McConnell are your best hope right now.  

        •  they can't retroactively change 2012's rates (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mark Mywurtz


          the rates are already published and printed... and deducted.

          "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

          by louisev on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:56:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Rates (0+ / 0-)

            This isn't changing rates, it's the AMT which is something of a different tax system though not.

          •  Yep, the 2012 tax bill will be affected for (0+ / 0-)

            millions of families, down to two income families of about $75,000. That is because the AMT patch expires December 31 -- and if that is not addressed, the "old" AMT will apply for 2012 income.  Millions of families will owe a few thousand more this April 15 when they file their 2012 returns.  

            It's been discussed in the media, but hasn't gotten a lot of attention in the public.  See, for example, here and here and here.

            •  Apparently, the premise of AMT should have but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              WineRev

              did not include some form of COLA or inflation element, so the minimum income for it has been dropping year after year, because the Congress patched, not effective THIS year, instead of fixing, add COLA from date X, and updating the floor numbers. There have been people with incomes as low as IIRC 28K who have been pulled in.

              The AMT is a scheme that was devised to limit the effectiveness of particular deductions beyond a certain minimum level in figuring income tax. At some point in the past, a Congress decided that people from certain states or with certain deductions were getting unfairly large deductions, and this was the fix. States with income taxes generated too many deductions and there were thought to be too  many medical deductions, that sort of deductions. So that under AMT, no matter how many real deductions of these kinds you had, you had to go back and refigure your income and tax as if you only had a much smaller amount. Basically this penalized all states with income taxes, and all people who had really financially serious medical conditions not covered by insurance. Guess what color those states are politically.

              •  President Richard Nixon (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PeterHug

                proposed the AMT and Congress agreed. Nixon said he thought it was "un-American" for a US citizen to work the tax code in such a way so he or she ended up paying NOTHING in taxes. My, how Republicans have changed.

                BTW, the first year the AMT went into effect (1969 or 1970 I believe)? Total number of filers affected?  155!

                Shalom.

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

                by WineRev on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 04:36:56 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  more like "let's trust Senator Palpatine" (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, Mike Kahlow, LordMike, RUNDOWN, CTMET

        A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

        by dougymi on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:25:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Problem is that Boener won't survive with a 25 (4+ / 0-)

      count GOP vote. He needs upwards of 100, 125 so that he doesn't pass a democratic bill.

      It's tough to be John Bohener today.

      I suspect he doesn't survive the New Year.

      " The whole world is about three drinks behind" Humphrey Bogart.

      by flatford39 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:22:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately (5+ / 0-)

        His replacement might be worse than he is.  Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor etc....

        My Brothers Keeper

        by Reetz on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:25:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think that if it gets the McConnell (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, LordMike

        approval, and half the Senate Republicans, he'll get that 100 Republicans in the House.  

        Getting McConnell and half the Senate Republicans allows it to be labeled a bipartisan bill.  A bipartisan bill can get 100 House Republican votes.  A Democratic bill, where the Republicans just cave, can't get 100 Republican votes in the House.  

      •  I think if the Bohner allows the vote in the House (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Im a frayed knot

        it passes with a fairly good-sized majority.
            It'll likely get all the Democrats, and somewhere around 100 or so Republicans because it's a popular measure with their constituents.
           Final vote would be something around 290-140, give or take a dozen or so votes.

        "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

        by elwior on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:28:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And the Orangeman survives because nobody else (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Im a frayed knot, FistJab, gffish

        really wants his job at this point.

        "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

        by elwior on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:29:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Pubs can vote "Present." (0+ / 0-)

        No Republican has to vote for it. You just need at least 25 Republicans to be absent or to vote present and the bill can pass with only Democratic votes (assuming every Dem votes for it.)
           All Boehner has to do is bring it to the floor, if he can get 25 Pubs to agree to the scheme.
           21 Republicans were defeated in the election and I would bet that most of them won't be coming back for a lame duck session.

    •  No he is part of the problem (8+ / 0-)

      The Republicans understand that if they stick together they will increase their chances of getting a better deal because the democrats will get antsy and cave. McConnell knows this and all the democrats who keep saying to split the difference and go to McConnell don't understand that this good/bad cop dynamic plays right into the republican hands.  Boehner and McConnell are working together and if you assume one can be a better partner you give them the power to set the terms of the deal.

      This whole dynamic is what has to change; democrats need to simply stop caving so the public doesn't keep thinking that democrats are wrong because they keep caving. It just validates the republican position. The republicans keep expecting to get their way eventually like in the debt ceiling deal. And if they don't get their way at first democrats will get antsy and think of splitting the difference, and then that becomes the starting point for negotiations.

    •  You dont think Boehner will feel (0+ / 0-)

      pressure to bring it to a floor vote right at Dec 31st deadline or beyond it?

      To me that's what would get a bill a floor vote, not the number of GOP senators who would support it.

      •  Nope, I don't. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike

        I think Boehner's committed to his caucus that he won't bring a bill to the floor that doesn't have "majority of the majority" -- the "Hastert Rule."

        I think that after the failure of Plan B, there's no way that Boehner brings a bill to the floor that is going to pass with all the Democrats and only a handful of Republicans voting for it.  Not. Gonna. Happen.  

        Pressure from the President is meaningless to the vast majority of House Republicans.  They are far more concerned about a primary challenger from the right than they are concerned about a challenger in the general election.  And November of 2014 is a long, long time away.  

        •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

          I dont think it's pressure from the president, but the situation.

          A bill has passed the Senate that President says he will sign. We are now at the Jan 1st deadline or slightly past it. The markets are watching, and will likely tank if Boehner doesnt put the bill on the floor.

          In that situation, does he put the bill on the floor? I think so.

          He might not whip the votes for it, but he would put it to a vote.

          I think his speakership is likely safe in any circumstance, mostly because I cant see anyone else wanting the job.  

          •  I agree his speakership is safe regardless (0+ / 0-)

            I still think there's no chance that he puts a bill on the floor that gets all the Democrats and very few Republicans.  That would be a partisan Democratic Bill.  He won't let a partisan Democratic Bill pass the House.  He has no incentive at all to do that.  It would hurt him with the constituency who voted for him in the first place.  That would be something that could bring about a primary challenger from the right in 2014.  

            Now, if there's a bill that could reasonably be seen as bipartisan -- like it gets about half the Senate Republicans and would get about half the House Republicans -- that he WOULD bring to the floor.  

    •  If he's the only hope then we're already (3+ / 0-)

      doomed.

      Relying on Mitch McConnell for anything is just ridiculous.  Any Democrat who says such a thing should be reminded of what he's been saying and doing for the past 4 years.

      McConnell is getting credit already from the media and it's all a fabricated lie.

      Why are any Republicans receiving credit for anything?  They don't do anything.

      •  Nobody's giving anybody "credit." (0+ / 0-)

        I'm just being realistic.  How can you get a bill to pass in both Houses?  A bipartisan bill from Reid and McConnell is the only way I see a bill getting through both Houses.  

        •  "McConnell is the only hope..." (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MBramble

          That's not giving him credit?

          Oh, that's right, you're just being a realist.  I'm sorry, but where have you been for the last 4 years?

          McConnell has been at the front of every obstruction in our government, but now he's the only hope?

          McConnell is not the only hope?  Actually, there must be several House Republicans who deserve that title more than McConnell.  As the Senate minority leader he doesn't deserve any of the attention he's getting.

          When Boehner tells America it is up to the Senate to pass something, he's lying in more ways than one.

          •  What other Republican right now has the (0+ / 0-)

            influence to get a deal through Congress?  

            The "several House Republicans" can't get a bill to the floor of the House for a vote.  Only Boehner can do that.  And McConnell is the one single Republican in the best position to have enough influence to get something that Boehner will bring to the floor for a vote.  

            The "only hope" is not an endorsement of anything.  It is simply a statement that if he doesn't get a deal with Reid, the chances of a bill getting a vote in the House are pretty much nill.  If Reid and McConnell reach a deal that gets about half of the Senate Republicans, that will put pressure on Boehner to bring the bill to the floor of the House, and that will give 100 or so House Republicans license to vote for it.  So McConnell is in the best position of any Republican to get a bill that can get through Congress.    He can be the devil incarnate - but he's still the Republican in the best position to make legislation actually happen.  

            That's just the fact of life politically right now.  

            •  The Senate already passed a bill. (0+ / 0-)

              Be that as it may, it is the House of Representatives responsibility to pass tax legislation.  It is not the Senate's.  When Boehner passed that responsibility to the Senate he not only failed to do his job, he failed to fulfill his oath to uphold the constitution.

              Like I said, he's lying in more ways than one.

              If I were Reid or McConnell, I wouldn't touch this with a 10 foot pole.

              I can see the headlines now, Senate over reaches, betrays their oath to uphold the constitution by usurping the Constitutional power given to the House.

              I'd watch it if I were them.

              •  Actually, not exactly true. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib
                The Senate already passed a bill.
                The Senate's action in passing that bill was unconstitutional, in violation of Article 1, Section 7 because it was a revenue bill that did not originate in the House.  Immediately after that bill was passed, it was Blue Slipped, which means it's been dead since then.  In fact, that's why Senate Republicans did not filibuster it back then -- because it was in violation of the constitution and would be Blue Slipped.  So there is no "Senate Bill" out there. The House can do a procedural work around, like putting the Senate bill into one they originate, or taking up an identical bill introduced in the House by Democrats, but that requires a majority vote in the House and another vote (that can be filibustered) in the Senate.    Unless and until they vote to do that, there is no Senate bill waiting on a House vote.  

                What's going on now is that the House did pass a Republican bill a while back extending all the tax rates.  If Reid and McConnell reach an agreement, they will likely take that House bill and amend it -- but that requires another vote of the Senate.  

          •  In order to be a hero (0+ / 0-)

            all McConnell has to do is not deliberately sabotage the country like he usually does.

  •  Hope. n/t (4+ / 0-)

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:23:05 PM PST

  •  "Mitch McConnell to Save the Day?" (5+ / 0-)

    This just in,,,,, Hell is Freezing Over........

    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 06:27:40 PM PST

  •  This is a little nerving right now (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Im a frayed knot, FistJab

    The impression out there is that both Reid/McConnell want this done, and of course that's good.

    Here's hoping Sen. Reid/Dems stays strong. Sen. McConnell is a sneaky SOB who likes to complain and whine alot.

    The good news here is I believe McConnell was not happy with the poll coming out recently showing him to be the most unpopular senator currently in office. I think he took that to heart.

  •  Heh. (5+ / 0-)

    After bad mouthing the Democrats, fillibustering every good bill in sight and being an all around obstruction machine for everything in the Senate...HE IS A SAVIOR?

    I think not.  If he does anything it is to save  his own skin and the skin of a few other GOP Senators.

  •  Nope... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Im a frayed knot

    ...don't believe it.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:38:38 PM PST

  •  He seems to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    to be more like Underdog than Mighty Mouse or Superman

  •  Turtle Man-not the best super hero to save the day (6+ / 0-)

    Those cold reptile eyes do not inspire confidence.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:41:04 PM PST

  •  If McConnell this done it's only cuz Obama and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FistJab, RJDixon74135

    Reid have hold of him by the short hairs.

    I've got to say I love me that good old fashioned LBJ style of negotiating.

  •  Hell (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe Mitch will show some political courage. He's 70 years old, 10 richest guy in the Senate and really not a dumb guy.
     LOOK TO HISTORY, MITCH!!!START DOING THE RIGHT THING!!! DO YOU REALLY NEED THIS JOB?
    The people of Kentucky are fair and reasonable. I travel there on a regular basis.

    Well... I can hope.

    The Ghost of Tom Joad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jVZHCUbS4U

    by Illinois IRV on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:45:53 PM PST

  •  McConnell.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shippo1776, FistJab, Mark Mywurtz

    ..is an incompetent coward & a far right shit-stirrer.

    To think McConnell is going to lend a positive hand in quelling this crisis is akin to thinking Michelle Bachmann is going to win an award for her ground-breaking work in nuclear physics.

    I'm worse at what I do best/ And for this gift I feel blessed. - Kurt Cobain

    by wyvern on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:48:05 PM PST

  •  Send the prick home, we don't need him consuming (0+ / 0-)

    valuable oxygen.  Turn the lighdt in his office, at least we can save on the electric bill.

  •  Mitch McConnell is trying to save face (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howd, LordMike, FistJab

    He and the Repugs are in a box. If he does nothing, the pressure will build until they are forced to cave or take major wounds.

    When you have a rat trapped, your options are to kill it or give it a way to scurry away.

    Normally, I would suggest just killing it, but these are human rats who control the congress. So plan B?

    Maturity: Doing what you know is right - even though you were told to do it

    by grapes on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:50:26 PM PST

  •  I will be shocked if there is not a bill (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, coffeetalk, VClib

    brought to a vote in the Senate by Sunday.  The two sides are not really that far apart.  By "two sides" I mean the vast majority of Senators, and a large majority of the House (excluding the far left progressives and the far right tea party).  They are the ones who will be bending over on this deal.

    The GOP leadership has already agreed to a non-renewal of high-end tax cuts, it's just the threshold that is in question.  The Dems (Obama) have already agreed to entitlement reform (at least to chained CPI), and to moving off of the $250K number.  The GOP can live with extended UI benefits, and the Dems can live with extending Cap Gains tax cuts and estate tax reductions.  Everybody wants to pass the AMT patch and the farm bill.

    The only thing left to debate is the debt ceiling, and Obama will only get that in exchange for chained CPI and and spending cuts that are for domestic programs (re: not military cuts).  It seems they are agreeing to punt that issue and fight that out after the New Year.

    My guess is we see a bill with a $500K threashold that gets about 75 votes in the Senate, and Boehner agrees to put it up for a vote (maybe with some small amendments) in the House, where it will pass with more than half the GOP caucus (because really, what republican wants to vote against making 99% of the Bush Tax Cuts permament?).

    The above deal is a big win for the GOP, especially after Obama's re-election.  It's not what they'd have gotten with Romney, or with winning the Senate, but they didn't get either of those.  They'd be CRAZY not to make that deal, and I'll bet that deal can still be made.

  •  Anything ... from McConnell (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Mywurtz

    would be a disaster for liberals and progressives.

    Be careful what you wish for, no deal is better than complete surrender.

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

    by RUNDOWN on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:18:59 PM PST

  •  Boehner made an error in his "Now it is the Senate (0+ / 0-)

    who has to fix this,' which is that he dumped the problem and attempted to dump the blame on McConnell, who has an excellent ability to hold a grudge, which may be personally more important to McC than Boehner himself is. Perhaps Boehner was relying on unidentified Rs to filibuster any bill Boehner did not like so it would be the Senate and McC who would be blamed, since the filibuster fight is due next week. Depending on what the deal is, McC could put Rs in position of dumping dogma for the good of the country in the extreme situation of B pooping out so badly, or otherwise help a bill move back to Boehner to have to deal with. There might be the fastest interchamber conference committee in history to get this done.

  •  The instant the Senate goes into session... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Mywurtz, bluezen

    ABOLISH THE FILIBUSTER.

    Completely.

    There is no doubt whatsoever the GOP will do it instantly when and if it gets a Senate majority, so the Democrats would be idiots not to use the "nuclear weapon" first.

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