Posts tagged John Boehner
As a little-heralded feature of the recent fiscal battles between the White House and Congress, America has largely achieved the goal of the “grand bargain” pursued during the summer of 2011.
If you recall, back then President Obama and Speaker Boehner at one time came close to an agreement that would reduce the federal deficit by roughly $4 trillion over the next decade. A deficit reduction of this size was seen as the Holy Grail of budget talks, a reduction that was sufficient (even if barely) to stabilize the nation’s economic future. Talks fell apart then because of Republican refusal to accept revenue increases. But since then, slowly, haltingly, painfully, that magic $4 trillion goal has come very close to reality.
We’re almost there. Too bad so few people know it. Even worse, it’s too bad that political strategists choose to pretend otherwise. Perhaps there’s something evil in the (intentional?) avoidance of the realities. (more…)
The next round of budgetary posturing and hijinks in is full flower. This act must play out by the first of March, when the sequester cuts — delayed by the last budget deal — are again scheduled to kick in. Here’s where things now stand.
President Obama has made a proposal for handling the upcoming crisis that Congress has once more inflicted upon itself. Many Republicans — though, surprisingly not all — have voiced predictable objections. Republicans are pushing for all cuts, all the time, primarily to Medicare and Social Security, both of which seem to be on increasingly good financial footing.
We’ve got just over there weeks before the cuts kick in, cuts designed to be too horrible to contemplate, so horrible they would force Democrats and Republicans to work together. They have been horrible enough that they’ve forced Congress to delay them once. What will happen next? (more…)
The world hasn’t come to an end yet, but it seems some Republicans are wishing it had. In the House, the far right wing of the Republican Party is revolting. OK, that’s nothing new, but this time they’re also revolting against House Speaker John Boehner (R-West Chester Township, OH), as the Speaker attempts to cobble together a bill that would stave off the coming Fiscal Cliff™.
Over the course of this past week, we heard an increasing drumbeat of an impending deal coming out of the House. As the week wore on, though, it became clearer that Boehner was in over his head. Sure, the moderates were willing to increase income taxes…on those whose adjusted gross income is over a million dollars. And it was going to be tied to a bunch of budget cuts…curiously, all of them in domestic spending programs favored by Democrats.
I’ve written about the upcoming Congressional fiscal challenges several times before. It’s sort of a tradition by now. I feel obligated to document the play-by-play for the current games so as to keep the story moving along.
We are rapidly approaching the Fiscal Pothole. Much has happened in the last two weeks. We’ve got less than four weeks until the deadline hits. Come the New Year, the Bush-era tax cuts expire, the 2011 Debt Ceiling cutthroat sequester goes into effect, unemployment insurance payments run out, the FICA Tax Holiday once comes to another end, the Medicare Doc Fix needs to be fixed again, and the Alternative Minimum Tax needs its annual goosing. To top it off, America runs back up against the debt ceiling shortly thereafter.
Will we survive this catastrophe? Can disaster be averted? What have the players been doing? Activity comes fast and furious. Who will survive?
President Obama submitted to Congress a plan that tackles all of these issues, quite an ambitious achievement. It includes a four trillion dollar deficit reduction over ten years, extends the Bush tax cuts for everyone in America on the first $250,000 of income, extends the payroll tax credit and bonus depreciation for business investment, makes permanent the Alternative Minimum Tax and Medicare Doc Fixes, along with another package of routinely expiring tax provisions — mostly for businesses — known colloquially as tax extenders. That’s just the beginning. (more…)
There is a tradition of Congress spending somewhere around four to six weeks finishing up business between the time of an election in November and the time a new Congress is sworn in the following January. Some of these lame duck sessions are productive, and some are not.
The first thing we’ll be dealing with in the upcoming lame duck session is the “fiscal cliff”. There are three major issues there — the expiring Bush tax cuts, the Supercommittee sequester, and raising the debt ceiling. A number of other related questions might also be considered — the expiring FICA payroll tax holiday, extended unemployment benefits, and the annual rituals of altering the Alternative Minimum Tax and the Medicare “Doc Fix”.
We’ll be told these are vital, urgent, must-decide questions, that have to be resolved before January 1, because that’s when they all kick in. We’ll be facing economic disaster, and probably another major recession if we don’t act before The End Has Come.
The panic is overblown. Congress enacted a continuing resolution that funds the federal government at current levels through some time in March, so most of these will have little impact, if any at all, until then. The Treasury Department can engage in various accounting gimmicks to keep things funded for at least another thirty to sixty days past the beginning of the year whether the debt limit is raised or not. The matters that would be noticed immediately by most Americans is if the Bush tax cuts and the payroll tax holiday expire on schedule, when take-home takes a noticeable (though hardly crippling) hit.
These things all have to be fixed. They don’t have to be fixed in a mood of panic. The actual urgency is a political one — what these things mean to Republicans.
At first blush, it may seem that nothing has really changed in Washington after Tuesday’s election. Barack Obama is still president, Democrats still have a majority in the Senate, and Republicans still control the House. In reality, the dynamic is radically different. No where is this more obvious than in the matter of the so-called “fiscal cliff” (which is more of a pot hole), wherein Democrats now hold all the cards. The altered reality will be clear in the Congressional lame duck session, and this may well set the mood until the midterms.
Michael has been doing an excellent job with the Senate and Reëlection Watches. I’m certainly interested to see how his prediction model works on November 6.
I have been doing a series of House reports, compiling the ratings from various sources and reporting on them here. A link to my last House report on August 23 is here, if you want to compare to past analyses. This will be my final update on the experts’ projections for the House of Representatives in the 113th Congress, which convenes January 3, 2013.
The current makeup of the House is 242 Republicans (including two vacant seats) and 193 Democrats (including two vacant seats). A majority is 218 seats. The Speaker of the House, elected by the majority party, is John Boehner (R-Butler County, OH).
A graphical summary of the most current ratings is below. The majority is the vertical black line; the current composition of the House is indicated by the red arrow. After the jump, I have the details of each forecast.