House GOP Speaker Boehner and President Obama will meet on the Fiscal Cliff this afternoon
These are my links for December 27th through December 28th:
- What Happens After the Cliff – So now what?
- Speaker John Boehner notified House Republicans yesterday that not only should they return to Washington by Sunday, but they should also be prepared to stay in town all of next week. That means nothing will happen in either chamber of Congress until Boehner is reelected Speaker on January 3rd. In all likelihood, House Republicans will then also immediately pass the exact same legislation they passed this summer, extending all the current tax rates and redirecting the scheduled defense cuts into more domestic spending cuts. They will then ask Obama and Reid to craft their own bill addressing these problems in the Senate.In other words, nothing will have changed. We will be right back where we are today, waiting for Obama and Reid to act.Democrats will have a slightly more liberal Senate to work with next year, but it is not at all clear how many more votes for Obama’s preferred outcome he will have gained. If anything the Senate will have less moderates (in both parties) meaning Obama’s chances for a “grand bargain” will have shrunk, not grown.
And while it is likely House Republicans will agree to some type of tax cut in the new year, if anything their opposition to undoing the domestic side of the spending sequestration, let alone agreeing to increase in spending, will rise. “People who have contacted me are asking me to stand firm on what really matters, which is the spending side of the equation,” Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., told Politico.
Obama may have won reelection in 2012 by a four point, 51 percent to 47 percent, margin. But 51 percent of that very same electorate told exit pollsters that, “Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.” Meanwhile only 43 percent said, “Government should do more to solve problems.” That is hardly a mandate for Obama’s ambitious second term agenda.
- Health Reform: The ObamaCare Political Storms are Far From Over – The actual course of events after January 1, 2014 is likely to be stormy and filled with developments investigative reporters will enthusiastically describe and ACA opponents will point to with relish. There is every prospect that during the years 2014 and 2015 the political storms will be as furious as they were when a committed president and Democratic Congressional leadership gave life to the long-delayed dream of national health reform. Those who said that the presidential election would settle the fate of heath reform will be proven mostly right. But it will become clear that they had the date wrong: the key election will turn out to have been not 2012, but 2016.
- No charges in Countrywide VIP loans probe – onner and Sanchez noted that the full 10-member Ethics Committee unanimously determined “after lengthy and careful consideration that it does not appear that there is any specific credible evidence of actual violations that remain within the jurisdiction of the Committee.”More than a half-dozen current and former lawmakers, including retiring Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), obtained mortgages through the Countrywide VIP program. In some cases they saved thousands of dollars compared with what they would have paid if the transaction were handled differently, according to a report released in July by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.Other lawmakers who received Countrwide VIP loans include former Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), as well as Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) and former Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.).Dodd and Conrad were cleared of any wrongdoing by the Senate Ethics Committee in 2009.
All of the lawmakers said they were not aware of their inclusion in a VIP program, and denied seeking preferential treatment for the mortgages. Such an action would violate congressional ethics rules and potentially federal laws.
- As Swing Districts Dwindle, Can a Divided House Stand? – In 1992, there were 103 members of the House of Representatives elected from what might be called swing districts: those in which the margin in the presidential race was within five percentage points of the national result. But based on an analysis of this year’s presidential returns, I estimate that there are only 35 such Congressional districts remaining, barely a third of the total 20 years ago.Instead, the number of landslide districts — those in which the presidential vote margin deviated by at least 20 percentage points from the national result — has roughly doubled. In 1992, there were 123 such districts (65 of them strongly Democratic and 58 strongly Republican). Today, there are 242 of them (of these, 117 favor Democrats and 125 Republicans).So why is compromise so hard in the House? Some commentators, especially liberals, attribute it to what they say is the irrationality of Republican members of Congress.But the answer could be this instead: individual members of Congress are responding fairly rationally to their incentives. Most members of the House now come from hyperpartisan districts where they face essentially no threat of losing their seat to the other party. Instead, primary challenges, especially for Republicans, may be the more serious risk.
In the chart below, I’ve grouped the country’s Congressional districts into seven categories based on the results of presidential voting there from 1992 through 2012:
- The logic of House GOP intransigence – In the staunchly conservative districts that most House Republicans inhabit, playing ball with President Barack Obama on taxes and the debt means tempting a primary opponent in the next election. The threat of a challenge from the left that might come from digging in, on the other hand, is almost nonexistent for most members.As a matter of pure political self-interest, the post-election debate within the GOP about how to broaden the party’s appeal and avoid another Romney-esque debacle in four years is irrelevant in this quarter of GOP politics. For the overwhelming majority of House Republicans, the largely white, resolutely conservative electorate that Mitt Romney relied on — excessively, as it turned out — is all they need to ensure reelection.
- Why they want to go over the cliff – Washington’s Democratic and Republican power brokers have sent the message to the nation that going over the fiscal cliff is a worst-case scenario. But they’re not acting that way, not at all.Instead, many of them have calculated that it’s better to go over the cliff — at least temporarily — than swallow a raw deal.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-27 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-27
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-27 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-27 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-27 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-27
- Scott Brown: Obama Sent Fiscal Cliff Proposal – Business Insider – RT @businessinsider: Scott Brown: Obama Has Sent Senate Republicans A Fiscal Cliff Proposal
- Flap’s Dentistry Blog: The Morning Drill: December 27, 2012 – The Morning Drill: December 27, 2012
- The Morning Flap: December 27, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 27, 2012 #tcot
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