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Following his meeting with Congressional leaders Friday, President Obama declared he was "modestly optimistic" a deal could be reached to avoid the January 1st "fiscal cliff." But if Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell can't come to an agreement, the President announced he would demand an up-or-down vote on a stop-gap measure extending unemployment benefits for two million jobless Americans and providing tax relief to 98 percent of taxpayers.

Given the GOP's current 242 to 193 advantage in the House, that means it would only take 25 Republican representatives to join their Democratic colleagues to avert a $4 trillion, 10 year tax increase on all Americans. (After the new session starts in January, the needed tally will drop to 17.)  Those 25 GOP votes to end the Bush tax cuts for the richest two percent shouldn't be too much to ask for. After all, in 2001 28 Democratic Congressmen and 12 Senators voted to enact the Bush tax cuts in the first place.

Despite losing the popular vote in 2000 and facing a 50-50 Senate, President Bush and Vice President Cheney claimed a mandate for their $1.3 trillion tax cut package. As Bush put it to Congressional leaders on December 18, 2000, "I think all four standing here understand that I campaigned on a clear view of tax relief, and that's what I'm going to bring to the floor of the House and the Senate." Cheney, as usual, was blunter:

"There is no reason in the world, and I simply don't buy the notion, that somehow we come to office now as a, quote, 'weakened president.' [...] We've got a good program, and we're going to pursue it."
Which is pretty much what transpired.

Continue reading below the fold.

By the summer of 2001, President Bush and Vice President Cheney had their $1.3 trillion tax cut, courtesy of precisely the strategy Gloria Borger ridiculed as "cherry pick[ing] one or two Democrats here and there and get them to sign on to whatever tax bill you have." (They had to use the budget reconciliation process to do it, which is one of the reasons the Bush tax cuts were not made permanent from the start.)

Sadly, Republicans have long shown that turnabout is not fair play when it comes to bipartisanship. President Obama's 2009 stimulus bill received no GOP votes in the House and only three in the Senate. And in 1993, every single Republican on Capitol Hill voted against President Clinton's $496 billion bill raising upper income tax rates. As the New York Times explained at the time, that result was unprecedented:

An identical version of the $496 billion deficit-cutting measure was approved Thursday night by the House, 218 to 216. The Senate was divided 50 to 50 before Mr. Gore voted. Since tie votes in the House mean defeat, the bill would have failed if even one representative or one senator who voted with the President had switched sides...

Historians believe that no other important legislation, at least since World War II, has been enacted without at least one vote in either house from each major party.

Of course, what was once unprecedented is now the routine for Congressional Republicans. The GOP hasn't just set the record for filibuster (to pass, Obama's stop-gap measure would need seven Republican votes to allow it to come to a vote in the Senate) and blocked Obama nominees at an unheard-of rate. No Republican in Congress voted for a tax increase since 1990.

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:06 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It is not going to happen. (11+ / 0-)

    The Republicans will vote against anything and everything the Democrats are voting for. They don't care if they destroy the country in the process. They are only afraid of their right wing.

  •  I'm looking for a word (8+ / 0-)

    that is stronger than loathe.  Help me out here.

  •  Well, not exactly correct (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, RUNDOWN, SoCalSal

    it will take (1) McConnell allowing a vote on the senate (i.e., no filibuster) and  7 Senate Republicans; and (2) Boehner allowing a vote on the floor of the House and those 23 Republicans.  

    That's because the prior Senate bill was Blue-Slipped as unconstitutional (a revenue bill that didn't originate in the House) and thus is not viable. (That's why it was not filibustered back when it was passed.)  So, presumably, if Reid and McConnell work out a deal, they'll take the House bill on the fiscal cliff, amend it with their new deal, and pass it.  If it gets say, 25 Republican votes in the Senate, that makes it bipartisan, and that will give Boehner cover to allow it to come to a vote in the House, where it would presumably get about half the Republicans there as well.  

    If Reid and McConnell don't work out a bipartisan deal (i.e., one that can get 20 plus Republican votes in the Senate) I can't see any way the President's proposal gets a vote in the Senate (it would be filibustered) much less the House.  

    •  Technically (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mkoz, pdx kirk, KJG52, sethtriggs

      You could get 25 Republicans to sign Pelosi's petition to bring the bill to a vote even without Boehner's go-ahead, I believe. And of course, if you got 5-8 Republican senators to okay the bill, McConnell wouldn't have any say vis-a-vis a fillibuster.

      Somehow that seems even less likely than the Republican leaders deciding to cooperate, however.

      matthewborgard.com ~ @MatthewBorgard

      by zegota on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:20:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well not exactly... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eparrot, Kentucky DeanDemocrat

      If McConnel allows a vote, we don't need seven Senate Republicans. We only need them to avoid cloture.

    •  "All for one, one for All" (0+ / 0-)

      Fracturing the repub unity in the House is the key here.

      In order to peal off those 25 R-Congress, there MUST be a fracture of the "All for one, one for All" potlitical unity that is the real power base of the repub party.

      Once that fracture occurs, Tea Party goes to shit, moderate repubs can work with reasonable Dems and things can start moving forward.

      But gotta have this fracture before anything next can occur.

      And Obama is banging away with that chisel right now.

      I'm just sitting back and enjoying the show! Obama is in command right now. BIG balls!!!  YAY!

  •  GOPbags not allowed to vote for anything with any (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, JeffW, RUNDOWN, elwior, Kansas Born

    .... connection with the Mooslim Neegro.

    Simply not allowed. The nation must plunge into the abyss instead.

  •  They won't do it if they want to get a job lobbyin (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, RUNDOWN, elwior, Kansas Born

    For the evil rich.

  •  25 flying pigs can end the fiscal stand-off. (4+ / 0-)

    That's all it takes!  Yippee!

  •  17 in the next Congress (0+ / 0-)

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:29:20 PM PST

  •  GOP- read my lips, that was a campaign pledge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts http://kagrox.libsyn.com/rss
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    by We Won on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:34:45 PM PST

  •  But on January 3rd there will be 9 more Democrats (6+ / 0-)

    and nine fewer Republicans, so that means we will only need 16 sane Republicans.  Shouldn't we wait these five days?

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:09:02 PM PST

    •  And it's not a "tax increase" then (0+ / 0-)

      It's a "tax cut," so the Norquist-pledgers could vote for it without going back on their word. I gather for a few of them that makes a difference.

      I will be astonished if a deal gets done before midnight tomorrow; I think Jan. 4 is much more likely, retroactive to Jan. 1.

  •  Not About Rational (5+ / 0-)

    It doesn't matter how rational the argument is because Republicans don't believe in rational.  They believe in winning at any cost.  They are not about fair, they are about giving out government money to their moneyed friends.  They don't care how many people die without health care as long as a few rich people benefit for a recession proof industry.  Let thousands die of guns, no problem to Republicans as long as their friends make lots of money.

    PBO is doing a competent job, but he needs to be more liberal.

    by jimgilliamv2 on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:12:13 PM PST

  •  GOP's grim trigger strategy (7+ / 0-)
    In game theory, grim trigger (also called the grim strategy or just grim) is a trigger strategy for a repeated game, such as an iterated prisoner's dilemma. Initially, a player using grim trigger will cooperate, but as soon as the opponent defects (thus satisfying the trigger condition), the player using grim trigger will defect for the remainder of the iterated game. 'Since a single defect by the opponent triggers defection forever, grim trigger is the most strictly unforgiving of strategies in an iterated game'. In iterated prisoner's dilemma strategy competitions, grim trigger performs poorly even without noise, and adding signal errors makes it even worse. Its ability to threaten permanent defection gives it a theoretically effective way to sustain trust, but because of its unforgiving nature and the inability to communicate this threat in advance, it performs poorly

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:24:37 PM PST

  •  GOP will stand firm, waiting for cave-in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    graphixart, equinespecter

    And they'll most likely get it.  Obama is a dealmaking easy mark - we've seen it over and over again -- and he cares about the country.  This is a deadly combination for liberal pursuits and tax fairness.

    I say again I hope like hell I'm wrong.

    The GOP enforces iron disclipline and their House caucus is comprised of 90 percent lunatics and ten percent mere madmen.

    They are two years from another general election, and they fear only the wrath of their fellow 'baggers in the electorate.

    •  I wonder... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      equinespecter

      why the Democrats never fear THEIR hard left base.

      Oh that's right, because we gleefully cheer for their re-election no matter what, even if they fully embrace policies we claimed to hate for 8 years.

      •  I'll tell you why... (0+ / 0-)

        It's quite a big difference between how parties act.

        Republicans don't fear their base. They agree with their base. Their base hates government and so do they. If it involves hurting people they don't like (minorities, poor, foreigners), they're for it. They also tend to have a greater hivemind where dissension is never tolerated.

        The 'hard left,' that tiny group in the Democratic Party (or at least, nominally Democratic)? Their only power is for reinforcement of negative themes. The hard left in the Democratic Party is only a useful foil to show that "hey, look, Democratic President __ is ineffective!"

        On top of it, Democrats almost never agree with one another. This plays out all the time and it's why you can have people like Elizabeth Warren and Mary Landrieu in the same party. This can no longer happen in the Republican Party.

        Now, when you combine that specialized purpose of the hard left (again, their purpose as a foil is to represent dissention and to emphasize the negative of Democratic policy), with their tiny numbers (because let's face it, there are far more cruel people in line with teabaggers than with the hard left), you're going to get this.

        Here's a good question to ask instead. How do you get the hard left to be a force for constructive policy building instead of opposition? That is, where the hard left actually puts together policy and does direct action to make it happen? I bet you that President Obama would definitely sign progressive legislation. Hell, he has already, when it actually reaches his desk.

  •  25 Repubs may cave, they know they can't 'win'. (0+ / 0-)

    25 flip out of 242? Not every Repub is Allen West or Joe Walsh. It's all up to Boehner.

  •  Can you recall representatives? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enemy of the people

    I know you can't recall Senators, but can you recall Representatives?

    That is to say, is there any real threat here? Or is the most that Obama, et al., can do is MTP, SOTU, etc.? Is there anything for a Republican to be afraid of? They obviously are not afraid of simply being unpopular.

    Who are the 25 most vulnerable R's in the house?

    “Americans are fighters. We're tough, resourceful and creative, and if we have the chance to fight on a level playing field, where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot, then no one - no one - can stop us. ”-- Elizabeth Warren

    by Positronicus on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:29:12 PM PST

  •  26 Republicans (0+ / 0-)

    BONER has to let it get a vote.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:31:45 PM PST

  •  There are at least 25 Republicans who are (0+ / 0-)

    worried about 2014, so it possible.  But only "possible."  We will see.

  •  Let *ALL* the Bush tax-cuts expire automatically, (6+ / 0-)

    then propose a middle-class only tax-cut, forcing the republicans to either oppose a tax-cut exclusively for the middle-class (which would be political suicide) or accept it. Democrats could’ve done this same thing 2 years ago during the 2010 lame duck. This shit ain’t hard.

    •  an obvious solution.... (2+ / 0-)

      so obvious that it's clear Obama doesn't want to do it.  (makes it harder to cut the entitlements in a Grand Betrayal)

      An we aren't helped by Daily Kos front pagers referring to Jan 1 as a date where all americans will face a "10 year tax hike".... buying into this false nonsense.

      •  Yep, it's not even good kabuki anymore n/t. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kentucky DeanDemocrat
      •  Things we don't get (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RadGal70

        like extension of unemployment benefits, fixing the AMT.  Doesn't deal with sequestration cuts, either.

        •  If republicans insist on committing (0+ / 0-)

          political suicide, we shouldn’t interfere. Let them block unemployment benefits. That would create a state of emergency (i.e. kids going hungry, in danger of freezing etc.), providing plenty of justification for the president to declare a state of emergency and issue an executive order extending unemployment benefits.
          We can’t be chickenshits when dealing with these republicans. If they want to commit political suicide, we’ve got to let them.

          •  The problem (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kathy S, sethtriggs

            is that they are well-gerrymandered into their seats.  If the things they are doing right now aren't political suicide, will those actions really deter them?  Romney made his 47% comments, and still got 47% of the vote.  You have more faith in the electorate--in how close they are watching these events unfold--than I do.

            Besides, the President has no power to declare a state of emergency and issue an executive order extending unemployment benefits.  That's just not how our government works.  

            I like your doggedness, Mike, but it wouldn't take much to put the economy back into recession, and for a few million people (families) to suddenly become poor (and no doubt, some would end up homeless, etc).  

            It's true that we don't fight as cut throat as the other side, but in many ways, that's our virtue, not our vice.  Considering the effects on real people's lives is something I want my part to do.

            •  See my post above about "fracturing" (0+ / 0-)

              This is what Obama is doing - driving a wedge between conservatives and moderates.

              Obama is not caving to the conservatives.

              He's negotiating with the moderates.

              And setting up the entire republican party to look like ginormous POS if we tumble over the fiscal cliff.

              It's a multi-dimensional chess game. Which Obama always ends up shoving up the repubs' a-holes in the LONG run. Sit back and enjoy the show. We're winning the BIG game.

        •  what about.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mike Taylor

          the supposed 'huge military cuts'?  Use that as a chip.  Go on the state of the union and blame the GOP for unemployed people getting cut off.  Use your goddamned popular leverage.

  •  My bet - the Senate will vote for a compromise (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KJG52, RamblinDave, graphixart

    and the House will do nothing.  Then they will re-elect Boehner and shortly thereafter they will all vote for a tax cut on the 98%.  They will say they never voted for a tax increase.

  •  why is jon perr peddling nonsense? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Perr, KJG52, slinkerwink

    "to avert a $4 trillion, 10 year tax increase on all Americans."

    If we go over the fake cliff, a 10 year tax increase is not locked in.  It can be changed at any time.  Why be misleading?  The new rates aren't tied to a 10 year table or any other.

    It'd be just as (in)accurate to say americans will be facing a "$40 trillion 100 year tax increase".

  •  'Ear now, wot's all this talk about a mandate??? (2+ / 0-)

    Funny how that word seems to have been retired from our discourse, along with the legendary "will of the people." Remember how the Republicans bludgeoned Democrats over the head with that two years ago? They were still in the minority during the 2010 lame duck session, and they dictated the terms of settlement as if they were already in the majority. As if they later could, with a mere House majority, force their will on the Senate and make the President sign whatever they came up with.

    We aren't hearing squat-ah about that "will of the people" or "mandate" stuff now, are we?

    These losers will be gone in 48 hours, and haven't shown the first sign of being trustworthy for two years. Can we PLEASE not hand them anything on their way out the door?

  •  I Don't Want Tax Relief (3+ / 0-)

    I want my income to rise. Providing "tax relief" is a Republican idea. I'm having none of it.

    What I want is my salary to be what it should be, which is about twice as high based on worker productivity.

    Why is the Democratic Party so far off track? They don't seem to have any independent existence outside the Republican Party.

    When you talk with these people, ask them where the jobs are. Ask them why they don't do anything about the deficit that matters: the trade deficit. Ask them why the people who have over 40% of the assets in the nation aren't paying over 40% of the cost of the government.

    When I ask these questions I don't get any answers.

    That's because THEY DON'T HAVE ANY.

    But they should.

  •  What will going off the cliff mean for jobs? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm hearing it will push the unemployment rate up. Can someone explain why? Seems to me the tax-hikes it will cause are just what the economy needs right now.

    Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

    by RamblinDave on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 02:49:28 AM PST

    •  the short term spending cuts will (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RamblinDave

      1) Hurt aggregate demand, and
      2) (Apparently the main concern of Rs) reduce revenue at defense contractors, presumably leading to cancelation of work and layoffs.
      3) Direct layoffs of government employees will both cause them to be unemployed, and then cause further unemployment as businesses that cater to them lose business.

    •  Cutting off unemployment benefits (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RamblinDave

      and reducing the net paycheck people get (because the payroll tax and income tax withholding go up) means people have less money to spend -- fewer lattes (so Starbucks lays off barristas) or McBurgers, fewer movies (so movie theaters. . . ), put off putting that new vanity in the bathroom (less work for carpenter and plumber), tell the kids no new sneakers or blue jeans this year.

      Then there are the major sequester cuts, a separate piece of the "cliff" -- defense contracts cancelled (layoffs at Boeing and Raytheon); social programs cut (layoffs at the local CAP agencies, unemployment offices, and anything else funded with federal dollars); and ripples down through to local government employees. Less student aid money means fewer students in college, means adjuncts like me get told "sorry, we don't need you this semester."

      In other words, what's "spending" at the federal level is "income" somewhere else in the economy, and it won't be flowing there.

      If it were only the tax hikes, it would be bad but not devastating. The pile-up of tax hikes plus spending cuts would be a massive hurt.

  •  27 House Districts GOP Won By Under 10% (0+ / 0-)

    Put this list together myself. Apologize if any errors. Seems if resources were devoted to trying to flip these in 2014 we would get the secondary effect of these Republicans siding with Democrats from time to time in order to appeal to moderates.
    IL 13
    MI 1
    MI 6
    IN 2
    NY 27
    NE 2
    CO 6
    FL 10
    PA 12
    KY 6
    OH 16
    OH 14
    FL 2
    MI 11
    NY 11
    OH 6
    NY 19
    CA 10
    FL 16
    VA 2
    NV 3
    NC 8
    IA 4
    MI 3
    IA 3
    TX 14
    NJ 3

  •  ***** (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    equinespecter

    “Let go over a cliff, die completely, and then come back to life - after that you cannot be deceived” -Zen Proverb

  •  your chart says "econ stimulus", not "tax cuts" (0+ / 0-)

    Your chart is titled as showing votes on "economic stimulus", not on "tax cuts".  They are not the same, except for right wing Republicans.

  •  So why doesn't he just do it? (0+ / 0-)
    the President announced he would demand an up-or-down vote on a stop-gap measure extending unemployment benefits for two million jobless Americans and providing tax relief to 98 percent of taxpayers.
    Instead Obama wants to negotiate even more cuts to entitlements?

    I just don't get him sometimes.

  •  It's not all the GOP's fault... (0+ / 0-)

    Most of it is, but the potus has a big role he isn't playing as well.

    Not for nothing, but he is turning out to be the worst democratic president in 100 years.

    He brought a lot of this on himself with his first four years.  He trained the rovians that it is ok to hold their breath and cry.  Big daddy will give them their lollypop in the end.

    Now he is trying to be a tough guy, except when he isn't.  This act isn't playing well.

    It still takes two, and he has poisoned his own hand.

    •  Looks to me like he's learned something (0+ / 0-)

      Franklin Roosevelt made some major bloopers in his first term too, and even into his second. It looks like Obama has learned (and maybe has better advisors?) -- a different tone in his voice. A friend who trains negotiation teams noted that Obama took something (I forget what) off the table this past week, saying the situation had changed -- a "take back," a good (powerful) negotiating move. We'll see.

      •  I'm hoping you are correct (0+ / 0-)

        But the ideologues in the house don't seem concerned.   They seem rather pleased.

        They believe in their hearts that O will cave when the gov't starts shutting down.  And they will only let parts of it restart.  Screw the economy, if they can shut down major branches of government and entitlements, they will be happy.

        The end game is theirs.   And they believe the potus will give in, as he always has.

  •  They lost the popular vote in THE HOUSE, USE IT! (0+ / 0-)

    No one is talking about this, but the disaster this year is that we won the popular vote in the house 48.7% to 48.4%, but because of aggressive redistricting for 20 years the Republicans won the majority in the house.

    We have to leverage this aggressively!

    We have first aim at Republicans from state where governors  and/or the local house are Democrats.

    We then have to threaten governors and houses from states that are borderline by promising aggressive campaigns there.

    Then we have to threaten those  states where Democrats have the majority - but did not redistrict aggresively.

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