CNN: Reid hunting for Senate (and House) votes for Obama’s fiscal cliff bill; Update: U.S. to hit debt ceiling on Monday, says Geithner

posted at 4:30 pm on December 26, 2012 by Allahpundit

If you’re wondering what the House’s Plan C might be, stop wondering. According to Boehner’s conference call this afternoon, America’s in Harry Reid’s hands now:

Reid’s plan, according to a “senior Democratic source,” is to do what Obama wants, of course:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in conjunction with the White House, is working to see if the scaled back fiscal cliff package President Barack Obama laid out last week can get through Congress before December 31st.

Reid has made clear in private conversations he does not want to bring any bill to the Senate floor unless he is sure it will pass both the Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-held House…

As far as the House goes, Democrats believe if they can get a bill through the Senate, it is likely they can get it through the House with most Democrats voting yes and, Democrats hope, about 30 or so House Republicans crossing party lines

The scaled back measure being developed by Democrats would first and foremost keep tax rates at current levels on incomes under $250,000 and let taxes go up on income above that threshold.

The point of the Plan B kabuki was to force Obama to up his offer on the income cut-off for new taxes by showing that Boehner could hold his caucus together. If he could get 218 Republican votes for a bill extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone who earns less than $1 million per year, he’d prove to the White House that he could get a critical mass of GOPers to agree to de facto tax hikes on the rich — so long as the income cut-off was set relatively high.

When Plan B failed, so did his leverage on that point. Now the White House knows that the final bill, if it passes before December 31, will only pass with Democratic votes, which means it’ll have to be more liberal than Plan B. Bailing on Boehner thus means more small businesses will feel the crunch next year unless centrist Republicans stick with the rest of the caucus right now and refuse to pass Obama’s plan if he doesn’t raise the income cut-off from $250,000. Somewhere between that number and $1 million lies the number that’s going to get a deal done. Obama already proposed making the cut-off $400,000, so presumably he’ll end up back at that number (or higher) unless there’s a complete breakdown in Republican discipline and Obama/Reid/Pelosi somehow manage to peel off 30 GOP votes for the $250,000 mark. Anyone feel confident that that won’t happen with the December 31 deadline bearing down? Bear these new numbers from Gallup in mind when making your prediction:

Per CNN, Democrats figure — wisely — that their best chance to get O’s plan through the House is to time it so that the bill ends up there on December 30 or 31, when political pressure on the GOP will be at its zenith. Which makes me wonder: Will Boehner try to block the bill or will he let it come to the floor? The vote for the next Speaker happens just a few days later, on January 3; if he allows Democrats to pass a bill with token Republican help that hikes taxes on everyone who makes $250,000 or more, there may be enough conservative opposition to end his Speakership. It’s in his own political interest at this point, then, to go over the cliff, let the tax hikes take effect across the board, and then let the House vote on cutting the “new,” higher tax rates for earners below $250,000. So we’re going over the cliff, I guess.

Update: It’ll be mighty interesting to see what Obama does between now and New Year’s. As I said above, he’ll have a better shot at getting those 30 GOP votes he needs if he ups his offer on the income cut-off. But if we go over the cliff, he might not need to up his offer; there might be enough panicky Republicans to raise taxes on earners above $250,000 after January 1 simply in the interest of ending this clusterfark. Is O ready to cliff dive in the interest of keeping his preferred income cut-off as low as possible?

Update: The fiscal cliff standoff isn’t just about tax hikes, although it often feels that way. It’s also about raising the debt ceiling. Obama wants it raised for a year or more so that he doesn’t have to deal with Republicans trying to extract new spending cuts from him next year; conservatives don’t want it raised at all until O proves he’s serious about deficit reduction.

Coincidentally, here’s Obama’s Treasury secretary informing the country at a moment of intense pressure on the GOP that we’re about to hit the debt ceiling. Again.

As a result, the Treasury Department will soon start using what it calls “extraordinary measures” to prevent government borrowing from exceeding the legal limit, Geithner wrote…

But it’s unclear how much time the extraordinary measures can buy now because there are so many unanswered questions about tax and spending policies, Geithner said, referring to the lack of any resolution of the fiscal cliff.

“If left unresolved, the expiring tax provisions and automatic spending cuts, as well as the attendant delays in filing of tax returns, would have the effect of adding some additional time to the duration of the extraordinary measures,” he wrote.

Think Obama can find 30 Republicans willing to vote “yes” on a bill to make all of that go away?

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Comment pages: 1 2

Boy you guys just stink at this.

Going over the cliff = republicans be blamed/ never hold a majority at least of any substantial numbers… for a long time.
You all have already seen the numbers… and it will get much worse. Besides the more informed like those of us here… who do you think knows anything besides what CNN and such say on TV? Sure, say that the republicans can turn the tide by getting on and talking about it, look at how well that went down for Mittens/Ryan.

Its going to take a long time and a lot of work to get things turned around… doing it all at once will NOT help things along in fact most likely just sway it the other way ….

IMO, this battle is long lost, but not the war. That takes time to win.

watertown on December 27, 2012 at 2:06 AM

Pass whatever Obama wants and let him and the Democrats own the double-dip recession.

muckdog on December 26, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Stop this insanity! NOW!

Hussein wants UNLIMITED Debt Ceiling. NO DEBT CEILING.

Stop sniffing whatever you are sniffing.

We’re going over the so called cliff one way or another, the only question is we do it slower or not. Taxes are going up, no matter what, via HusseinCare and other means. Economy is going to be killed via EPA and other new business laws. Spending IS NOT going down, no matter what. Its only a matter of time now. Even “sequestration” is nothing but paper numbers, who the hell cuts $200 Billion per year in spending while deficit runs in the $1.5 TRILLION range?

Are you guys as bad with numbers as Paul Ryan is, our math genius in the House?

NO RAISE IN DEBT CEILING! Spending cuts in the $1 TRILLION range NEXT YEAR and more thereafter. The ONLY way out. Close Ed Dept, EPA and Energy, for starters, they do nothing but destroy the minds of our kids and kill jobs. Or cut them to bare minimum if need be, lay off 80% right there. Sell those buildings or stop paying leases. TSA should be chucked as well, its a huge waste that does nothing. All other Fed departments should be cut across the board 10-20% next year and attrition afterwards until salaries match private sector (freeze pay and raises), this saves not only in the immediate future, but long term as well in benefits owed. No foreign aid to our enemies ($20B per year right there?). Stop ALL payments to UN and tell them they have 2 years to get the hell out of USA soil. We can pay as much as, say, Saudi Arabia, once they move and that about settles it. Pull our forces from muslim countries, TOMORROW. $100 BILLION in that alone?

You don’t need a calculator for this. Should be an easy $1 TRILLION right there without even trying.

House controls payments last time I checked. Close the government until they start acting responsibly or stop paying for certain departments we can do without. And stop paying for HusseinCare implementation, we cannot afford to. That in itself is BILLIONS next year.

riddick on December 27, 2012 at 2:14 AM

What Riddick said. Endorsed fully by me.

Malachi45 on December 27, 2012 at 5:56 AM

Steel yourselves, there’ll be no deal and this poor sick Republic will soon start its painful journey down the drain. Unfortunately, the mindless gaggle of human sheep in this country have elected to follow Obama the Pied Piper off the cliff and into the abyss. These are sad, sad times.

rplat on December 27, 2012 at 7:23 AM

AP is wrong. Political pressure feels less today than it did two weeks or so ago, belying his key point, and Americans seem steeled to the fiscal cliff dive.

Republicans should start focusing public comments on how we Americans are going to bounce back from this disaster of an economic policy, and how jobs can be created in droves by electing Republicans. Every single TV interview should start and end with references to the Democrat recession, the ObamaCare doctor shortages and the crazy regulations that have led to the lowest rate of new business starts in thirty years. The Democrat economy should be hung around their necks at every opportunity. AP’ s approach is nutty, because it leads to sharing the responsibility: the absent President and the crazy Democrats in Congress brought us here and the voters will make them pay.

MTF on December 27, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Why does everyone make the assumption that Obama’s agenda is to fix the economy? Obama’s agenda has always been to collapse the economy. Now he has his chance and blame Republicans. We don’t know if it’s going to work, but you better believe he is being advised to do it. Republicans can’t stop him, but they don’t have to participate either. Once this happens, no one will be able to fix it.

lea on December 27, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Reid is like Mr. Potter from ‘Its A Wonderful Life’, during the run on the bank. People are panicking – Potter isn’t…people are selling, but Potter is buying…. It was a bad move in the movie, & it is a bad move now.

As Liberals say, ‘Never allow a crisis go to waste’!

easyt65 on December 27, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Did anyone really expect Reid and his merry band of imbeciles to do anything constructive? We’re being destroyed by this dysfunctional joke of a government.

rplat on December 27, 2012 at 10:41 AM

“Coincidentally, here’s Obama’s Treasury secretary informing the country at a moment of intense pressure on the GOP that we’re about to hit the debt ceiling. Again.”

Sweet. So we get to tell Obama “give us what we want, or you can enjoy having a ballanced budget for the next two year”?

Time to not give Obama anything.

Greg Q on December 27, 2012 at 11:28 AM

How about searching for votes for your budget?

Oh, that’s right, you haven’t passed on in 4 years.

acyl72 on December 27, 2012 at 11:29 AM

I think this Country has had enough.

This is a petition to the White House calling for the immediate resignation of everyone in Congress and the President.

We have zero leadership in Washington. There are no adults left.

Let us send a message that we need a clean slate, a fresh start, with mature and competant leaders who will actually ACT and do things for the welfare of the Nation, not for the short-term political gains for their party.

Enough is enough.

sultanp on December 27, 2012 at 11:35 AM

I’ll bet Obama, et al., are just orgasmic about going over this cliff because they are doing everything in their power to make it happen.

lea on December 27, 2012 at 11:49 AM

House controls payments last time I checked. Close the government until they start acting responsibly or stop paying for certain departments we can do without.

riddick on December 27, 2012 at 2:14 AM

The problem is … no one in GOP leadership in the House has the balls to do that.

That’s it in a nutshell brah.

HondaV65 on December 27, 2012 at 4:18 PM

U.S. To hit Debt Ceiling On Monday — I know it will NEVER happen because the Republicans in Washington don’t have the [email protected] or BACKBONE to do so, BUT they have ALL the cards. They need to refuse to agree to ANY debt ceiling increase until Obama agrees to IMMEDIATE SERIOUS SPENDING CUTS…to begin with.

Had I the power, I would do the following:

1) No Debt Ceiling Increase unless Obama agreed to immediate serious spending cuts…

2) I would agree ONLY to a $1 Trillion debt ceiling level increase – which would not even last 1 year under Obama’s current deficit-spending rate – during which time this Administration would have to come up with & PASS a BUDGET, something it has not done in 4 years (even though it is REQUIRED BY LAW)! If no Budget is passed by the time the new $1 Trillion Debt Ceiling Increase is reached, there will not be another increase until the administration DOES pass a budget!
— A nation moving forward without a budget to guide their actions is like Christopher Columbus setting sail without any way / plan to navigate – you end up drifting / wandering aimlessly.

3) If Obama/Liberals don’t like it I would let the government SHUT DOWN. Democrats will try to scare people by telling them their SS, Medicare, Medicaid, etc will stop with a govt shutdown but that is NOT TRUE. What is true is that our elected officials won’t get paid & the govt can’t waste hudreds of billions of dollars passing pork & wasting time in Congress the way Harry Reid did yesterday – by stopping Senate business to throw partisan insults at Boehner rather than work on the ‘fiscal cliff’ issue. If Reid wants to engage in such UNACCEPTABLE behavior then he should be forced to do it without pay! Guys like this POS gewt paid WAY TOO MUCH & receive WAY TOO MANY TAX-PAYER FUNDED BENEFITS for engaging in self/party-serving behavior instead of the NATION’S business & should be PUNISHED for it.
— A Govt shutdown would not be a bad thing – it would be a BLESSING!

easyt65 on December 28, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Time for Boehner to go and the Repbulicans get a leader with some cajones. Boehner doesn’t qualify. Ryan might be good. Cantor, I am afraid, has been blinded by the dazzle of the office, so all he will be is another Boehner.

georgeofthedesert on December 29, 2012 at 11:14 AM

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