Late yesterday President Barack Obama met with Democratic congressional leaders Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) along with their Republican counterparts Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hoping to avert going over the highly publicized “fiscal cliff.”
With the White House previously noting how stagnant the talks between them and Speaker Boehner have been in recent weeks, many are pessimistic about whether these last minute talks will serve as anything more than theater cheaper than the tickets for the first Madea play.
As Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) explained to NBC News: [The meeting] ”doesn’t feel like anything that’s very constructive is going to happen. It feels more like optics than anything that’s real.” Similarly, Robert Costa of National Review reported that at least three of the GOP senators he’s spoken to believe we’re heading over the fiscal cliff regardless of yesterday afternoon’s meeting.
Thing is, the Senate had long produced a bill, a measure that would essentially extend all the Bush era tax cuts for those earning under $250,000 while allowing them to expire for those making over that amount. Boehner nor House Republicans support that, yet his caucus rebuked his “Plan B,” which would’ve extended the cuts for those earning $1,000,000 and below.
In response to Boehner’s Senate quip, Reid said on the Senate floor:
“We are here in Washington working while the members of the House of Representatives are out watching movies and watching their kids play soccer and basketball and doing all kinds of things. They should be here. I can’t imagine their consciences.”
But, but, but: It’s Christmas, sir. A time for peach cobbler and consumerism. Who has time for a conscience?
Reid went on to accuse Boehner of being more interested in maintaining his role as Speaker of the House than actually getting meaningful legislative done that would settle fears that the United States was about to turn off its ringer to ignore the global bill collectors who’ll soon come calling. Reid also claimed that Boehner was running the Senate like a dictator.
Well, that’s not true because Hugo Chavez would never allow his minions to embarrass him the way House Republicans have made a fool of Speaker Boehner. Nonetheless, the majority of the blame belongs to him.
True enough, it might not be so bad if we do end up “going over the fiscal cliff.” The upcoming Congress would include far more liberal members of the Senate and less wacky Tea Party obstructionists in the House — both of which would make for an accord more favorable to President Obama’s agenda.
You know, the one he was reelected on.
Nevertheless, the country could’ve avoided all of the dramatics had Boehner stopped being so focused on appeasing Tea Party members who don’t want to vote to raise taxes and bothered to try to work on a plan that could’ve garnered enough support from Democrats and Republicans alike to pass.
Instead, we’re going to have to look at Mitch McConnell’s frown on the White House lawn later and be subjected to at least another week or so of back-and-forth over the inevitable: Higher taxes for the Boardwalk and Park Place wing of American tax brackets.
Boehner was certainly given a hard group to work with, but he chose to lead and the end result is the 112th Congress on its way to becoming the most unproductive since the 1940s under his leadership. Should we go over the cliff, this is just another failure of his.
Fault him accordingly.