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It is sad that it took this long to avert what would be a slight inconvenience for some and a catastrophe for many others but tonight the Senate passed by an overwhelming majority a compromise made possible by our Vice President, Joe Biden:

(CNN) -- Senate leaders and the White House struck a last-minute deal to avert the feared fiscal cliff Monday night, with Vice President Joe Biden headed to the Capitol Hill to pitch the plan to fellow Democrats.
"Happy New Year," Biden, who became the Democratic point man in the talks, told reporters. "Did you think we would be here New Year's Eve?"
I know that many here are disappointed in this compromise but I wanted to recognize the great job done by our Vice President in reaching a compromise that seemed impossible for pretty much the last 4 years.  In a body where there are extreme differences of opinion and political philosophy, achieving such an overwhelming consensus is quite an accomplishment.  
In the end, it came down to two 70-year-old men, talking on the phone.
They are not the most powerful men in Washington: Each, in his own way, is a second fiddle. Joseph R. Biden Jr. is vice president. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is the Senate minority leader, in charge only of the senators who are not in charge. But these two men — rivals, colleagues and wary friends for almost 28 years — were the ones who finally struck a deal to end the "fiscal cliff" crisis.

The New Year's Eve agreement between Biden and McConnell provided a glimpse at the ways that personality quirks and one-to-one relationships can still change the course of Washington politics. On the Hill's most dramatic night in 16 months, these things seemed to matter far more than raw power.
As one of the many citizen's who would have lost a lot of sleep had nothing been passed, myself and many others owe Vice President Biden an sincere thank you for making 2013 a lot better than it seemed it would be 24 hours ago

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Comment Preferences

  •  I like the deal, it's by far the most we have (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cap76, jan4insight, Superribbie

    gotten out of a 'compromise' in the last 4 years.

    •  is this snark? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I can't possibly imagine that you are serious unless you are a RedState troll?

      Power to the Peaceful!

      by misterwade on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 11:49:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm serious, i like pretty much all of the deal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        •  Besides the UI extension (0+ / 0-)

          what is good about it?

          Power to the Peaceful!

          by misterwade on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 11:54:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Capital gains and Dividend taxes going up, permane (12+ / 0-)

            nt AMT fix, renewable energy tax credits, taxes going back to 39.6 on incomes above 400-450k, Medicare Doc fix, no spending cuts, no benefit cuts.

            •  ok that's better. I had read that much of that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              stuff had been deleted. But I still think we get screwed in 2 months (and agreeing to that time frame was fucking stupid). And our leverage would have increased dramatically had we waiting til the new year. No way the rethugs will accept military cuts. Of course, the dems don't want those either, which is a serious problem...

              Power to the Peaceful!

              by misterwade on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:21:22 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I posted these two comments in another diary, but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I think they're worth repeating (from Paul Krugman and Robert Reich):

              OK, now for the really bad news. Anyone looking at these negotiations, especially given Obama’s previous behavior, can’t help but reach one main conclusion: whenever the president says that there’s an issue on which he absolutely, positively won’t give ground, you can count on him, you know, giving way — and soon, too. The idea that you should only make promises and threats you intend to make good on doesn’t seem to be one that this particular president can grasp.

              And that means that Republicans will go right from this negotiation into the debt ceiling in the firm belief that Obama can be rolled.

              The deal emerging from the Senate is a lousy one. Let me count the ways:

              1. Republicans haven't conceded anything on the debt ceiling, so over the next two months -- as the Treasury runs out of tricks to avoid a default -- Republicans are likely to do exactly what they did before, which is to hold their votes on raising the ceiling hostage to major cuts in programs for the poor and in Medicare and Social Security.

              2. The deal makes tax cuts for the rich permanent (extending the Bush tax cuts for incomes up to $400,000 if filing singly and $450,000 if jointly) while extending refundable tax credits for the poor (child tax credit, enlarged EITC, and tuition tax credit) for only five years. There's absolutely no justification for this asymmetry.

              3. It doesn't get nearly enough revenue from the wealthiest 2 percent -- only $600 billion over the next decade, which is half of what the president called for, and a small fraction of the White House's goal of more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction. That means more of the burden of tax hikes and spending cuts in future years will fall on the middle class and the poor.

              Everyone knows what is going to happen during the next set of negotiations (because of what happened this time)....and that's where the damage will be done.  
              •  Obviously I disagree but to these specific points (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                radarlady, pistolSO

                Past isn't necessarily prologue.   The President drove a much harder bargain than in the past.  Unlike the 2010 agreement, taxes are going up this time.  The threshold increase to 400/450 is partially off-set but increases in capital gains, dividends, and deductions.  In addition, the tax code became slightly more progressive because of the (admittedly temporary) refundable tax credits.  

                Additionally, By combining the Debt Ceiling negotiations with the Sequestration off-sets,  the Republicans now only get one bite at the Apple to extract concessions.  in March when this comes up again, Republican will be sharply divided (deficit hawks vs Neocons) while Democrats will be unified for the most part.  Additionally by requiring the 2 months extension of the sequestration to be 50/50 spending/revenue,  the President is setting an important precedent.

                Finally, the alternative of going over the cliff just doesn't seem worth the misery it would cause the unemployed and low income people (losing the refundable tax credits) just to hold firm to the 250k threshold.  This was by no means a total capitulation which is why it was supported by so many Progressive senators.  If Bernie Sanders can live with this, it can't be that bad.

  •  Thank you Mr. Vice President... (3+ / 0-)

    ...for selling us out.  Reid was hanging tough, so McConnell knew where to turn to... the easiest mark in the room.  Weak... weak... weak...


    by LordMike on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 11:49:40 PM PST

  •  Apparently this is a serious diary and not snark? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I truly can't fucking believe anyone on this site could think this is positive. Really.  

    Power to the Peaceful!

    by misterwade on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 11:52:10 PM PST

    •  People on unemployment living paycheck to paycheck (12+ / 0-)

      Would disagree with that assessment.  

      89 Senators including many with unquestionable progressive credentials voted in favor of this compromise.  

      •  doesn't mean it isn't a very shitty compromise (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike, pino

        For all the leverage the prez had, he getting just the UI extension equals going belly up.  He sucks. The dems suck.  They fucked us.  

        Power to the Peaceful!

        by misterwade on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:02:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that when the details come out (9+ / 0-)

          There isn't going to be as much angst here as their currently is about this deal.  Two things in particular are being overlooked IMO:

          1.  Many of the 2009 Stimulus tax credits that benefit poor and middle income families (which is why Republicans hated them) were extended for 5 years and/or made permanent

          2.  Deductions that solely benefitted the super rich were eliminated.  On paper the 400K threshold seems like a win for the Rich, but eliminating those deductions will result in the Mitt Romney's of the world having to pay more taxes than they would have had the 250k been adhered to without the change in deductions.  Those who are merely wealthy (400k-1 million) catch a break, but the 1% of the 1% get hit harder.

          •  hope you are right about this (6+ / 0-)

            I'm calmer now. But another hostage situation in 2 months is infuriating. And without expiring tax rates, it's hard to see how we come out of that without soiling ourselves.

            I commend the patience you've demonstrated responding to my angry outbursts.  

            Power to the Peaceful!

            by misterwade on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 12:52:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No Problem (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GrumpyOldGeek, DeadHead, koNko, radarlady

              One clear loser tonight, in my opinion,  is the Tea Party for two reasons.

              1.  Our system of government worked.  Through negotiation , an unbelievably contentious issue was resolved by a huge margin.  The Tea Party hates it when government functions since to them all government is bad government.

              2.  The 2010 Freshmen Tea Party Class was strongly rebuked by their colleagues.  Three of the 8 Nays were Lee, Rubio, and Paul and their dogmatic approach to government did not fly even amongst republicans who otherwise hate taxes and aren't normally amenable to compromise themselves.  

            •  I think you have a point. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SilverWillow, GwenM, radarlady

              Not the best possible outcome by any means. "However ...."

              1. There would have been immediate harm to poor, lower middle class and unemployed that live check to check.

              2. Dems are still in possession of the high ground particularly since Republicans forced the short-term delay, meaning they are still holding the economy hostage.

              So how Dems deal with point 2 is critical. Now is the time for a full court press and some bloody party unity and teamwork.

              Will they use it? Remains to be seen.

              Dems need to study Chinese negotiation technique and look at this as the beginning of the process where there is much to be gained from a situation where Republicans are actually in the weaker position in many respects, particularly in the House (clue: they own the mess).

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:30:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  looking forward to reading about the deal (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              About that $400k to $1 mil: If you live in NYC or another expensive area, have two incomes, two kids in college, supporting a parent, saving for retirement, suddenly $500k isn't so wealthy after all. You'd be sighing with relief that you could fully fund your retirements while supporting your mum. (but that's not me, just wish it was)

              Curious to see what the House will do with this compromise.

              I was really hoping against hope a bigger effin' deal could get hammered out earlier this month. Or last month.

              Happy new year to us all.

  •  How can you be thankful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    delver rootnose

    for yet another cave into the right?  This president has repeatedly given in to the political terrorism of the republican party despite repeatedly holding the better cards.

    I'll say it again, President Obama is simply incapable of fighting on behalf of the American people.

    This deal sucks and you all know it.  The lurch to the right continues.  Thanks for nothing Mr. President.

    •  Myself and my Family would be harmed (9+ / 0-)

      If there was no deal, which absent Biden and McConnell coming together at the last minute probably would have happened.  There is way more to this deal than the UI extension which is the reason so many progressive senators voted in favor of it.

    •  Exactly what promise wasn't met? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Just yelling "cave" in many comments doesn't make it so.

      What specific part of this deal is a lurch to the right?

      Exactly how did the Republicans terrorize the Democrats with the cards they don't hold?

      Can you tell me exactly what promises you think were broken?

      Can you tell me exactly what the Repulicans got out of this deal? Anything?

      Are you assuming that Democrats didn't win this because Obama didn't get all nasty and angry (as in a fight)? He just doesn't do that. You should have figured that out by now.

      Do you assume that it's a total defeat just because a couple of pundits have pointed out that they wish they would have gotten more done in this one single deal?

      Seriously, WTF is all this anger based on?

      "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:33:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's see what the cave-sayers are screaming about (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GwenM, radarlady, pistolSO


    Obama promised that taxes for those making $250k or less would not go up.


    Obama promised that the wealthy would have to pay a little more in taxes.


    The expected number turned out to be $400k instead of $250k. So this is somehow a catastrophe? And Obama is a goddamn secret right wing fascist or something? A sellout? A caver in chief?

    It seems that both of these promises have been kept. Yeah, the revenue isn't quite as much as we'd like, but there's more to this agreement than just more income tax revenue. What's most  important here is that the Republicans have overwhelmingly agreed to accept a tax rate increase for the first time in about 20 years. And it's the best possible rate that we could have gotten.

    I'd say that this is a really, really, BFD.

    Yeah, there's some other increases that generate more revenue from the wealthy. So the $400k vs. $250k variable isn't the whole picture.

    The sequestration trap wasn't resolved as part of this deal? No. It got delayed. Anybody who expected a sequestration fix in this deal was certain to be disappointed. Does this mean Obama caved? No way.

    The deal didn't remove the debt limit hostage threat? No. Delayed. Again, delayed negotiations is not giving anything away. This can't be spun into caving in on anything. It's just not part of this deal.

    Sequestration and the debt limit are now scheduled at the same time? Yes. Somehow this is thought to be a problem? Let's see; the sequestration is set up to cause a recession. The debt limit is set up to cause a worldwide economic depression. Which one of these is going to get overwhelming opposition from all sides of the citizenry. Hint: It's not sequestration.

    Is this what all the sux/rox fight is all about?

    Just because the number is $400k and not $250k? And everything wasn't handled all at once in a time-limited last minute deal? Did folks really expect an all-inclusive deal? And all that uncertainty and speculation is causing fear and anxiety about what might happen next? That's pretty much the definition of politics. Manipulate the beliefs of citizens. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt is fundamental.

    How can this be called a sell out? Nobody caved on anything. All promises have been kept. This is just the first deal to address this self-imposed crisis nonsense.

    We have plenty of other issues to deal with.

    "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:21:18 AM PST

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