Archive for the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Category

The TeaParty Giveth and Taketh Away

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Speaker John A. Boehner, who rode a conservative wave to one of the highest positions in government, said today that he would resign from Congress at the end of October, undone by the very Republicans Teabaggers who swept him into power.

His rise and fall are noted in the following timeline:

Feb 2012 – He was swept into power on the Tea Party wave of 2010, the new speaker is immediately confronted by his powerful right flank with H.R. 1, the first bill of the new Republican House, which tries and fails to defund Planned Parenthood.

Jul 2012 – Pressed by conservatives, John Boehner dug in against raising the government’s statutory borrowing limit, risking a potentially catastrophic default on the federal debt. The White House blinked and signed the Budget Control Act establishing a “super committee” to slash the federal deficit, with strict spending caps set by law if the committee failed. The committee did fail and the Sequester was born. This is the only real victory can claim against President Obama but time has proven the Sequester is no victory for the country.

Dec 2012 – With all of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts set to expire on Jan. 1, John Boehner faced a major predicament. Most Republicans were elected on a pledge not to raise any taxes. President Obama had vowed to raise taxes on the rich. If they all did nothing, taxes would go up for virtually everyone. Mr. Boehner lost to President Obama and taxes went up on incomes over $400,000.

Oct 2013 – With the federal government set to run out of money, conservatives demanded on defunding the Affordable Care Act. He knew a shutdown would hurt the GOP politically but he could not avoid it. The government shut down on Oct. 1 for 16 days, until Republicans caved in to pressure and negative PR. Once again, President Obama won.

Feb 2015 – Conservatives once again forced the Speaker to stand their ground on continued funding for the Department of Homeland Security, demanding that any funds be tied to stopping Mr. Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Again, Mr. Boehner faced a threat on his speakership. Again, President Obama prevailed.

Sep 2015 – With the end of the fiscal year approaching, conservatives are again demanding that Planned Parenthood be defunded and the Teabaggers are prepared to shut down the government. John Boehner knew that a bill to fund the government beyond Sept. 30 would pass with Democratic votes, but conservatives said such a vote would end his speakership.

Sep 25, 2015 – One day after Pope Francis addressed a joint session of congress, an invitation from the speaker, John Boehner announced his resignation. He said he wanted to resign last year but when Eric Cantor was defeated by the Teabaggers, he said he decided to stay on for one more year.

Minority Speaker, Nancy Pelosi called Boehner’s resignation “a stark indication of the disarray of the House Republicans.”

Teabaggers claimed credit and victory for the Boehner’s resignation.Dont Laugh at ME

Pelosi Delivers Democrat Votes to Evert Fiscal Cliff

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

130910_nancy_pelosi_ap_605WASHINGTON — House Republicans finally agreed to allow a vote on the Senate approved bill, to avert the Fiscal Cliff, after spending all day doing nothing, as the reality of the Fiscal Cliff loomed. Earlier today, the Republican members of the house seemed prepared to embrace the Fiscal Cliff and not vote on the bill supported by bi-partisan support in the Senate. By early evening, it became apparent that the votes did not exist to vote for an amendment to the Senate bill and the realization of the Fiscal Cliff brought a brief sense of reality to the Republican members.

A strong bi-partisan procedural vote of 408 votes were cast to proceed with the vote for the Senate bill. The vote occured in the late evening hours. The bill passed 257-167. Nancy Pelosi delivered 172 Democratic Yes votes; 16 Democrats voted No. 85 Republicans voted Yes and 151 voted No.

Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 Republican, and the No. 1 nemesis to the Speaker, indicated to his colleagues earlier that he could not support the legislation in its current form. Many other Republicans were voicing their objections to a plan that they saw as raising taxes while doing little to rein in spending. Canter continued to undermine Speaker John Boehner as everyone waited for the up or down vote promised by the Speaker. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi demanded the legislation passed by the Senate be brought to an up or down vote.

Aides said that Speaker John A. Boehner, who had pledged to put any measure the Senate passed on the House floor for a vote, was mainly listening to the complaints of his rank and file “do nothing” teabaggers and had not taken a firm position on the legislation, though he had clear reservations. In the end, the Speaker voted for the bill.

The situation loomed as another failed significant test for Mr. Boehner, who had been unable to pass his own proposal to increase taxes only on $1 million in income and above or control his members. He has said repeatedly that he would allow a vote on the Senate bill, but he has also said he did not want to pass a bill requiring a majority of Democratic votes. In the end, it did take Democrats to pass the bill. Public opposition from Mr. Cantor, once again, undermined the Speaker, who has up to this point [appeared] to side with Mr. Boehner in the fiscal fight, mystically managed to again complicate the Speakers position.

The 112th Congress comes to a close at 11:59 on Thursday.

It appeared that members favored amending the measure and sending it back to the Senate. Attempts included an Amendment to add 300 billion in spending cuts to the Bill. Mr. Boehner was unable to garner enough votes to support an Amendment. Harry Reed promised warned that he would not accept any changes to the bill; which passed 89-8.

Any failure to pass the measure before the 112th Congress ends as of noon Thursday and would have required the process to start over in the new 113th Congress, meaning the Senate would have to vote again with a changed membership due the departure of several veteran lawmakers and the arrival of newcomers from both parties as a result of victories in the November elections.

Failure to act put pressure on the House to approve the legislation since a defeat would essentially leave the House responsible for a steep series of tax increases and spending cuts that some economists warned could/would send the nation back into a recession.

The bill included the following highlights:

—Income tax rates: Extends decade-old tax cuts on incomes up to $400,000 for individuals, $450,000 for couples. Earnings above those amounts would be taxed at a rate of 39.6 percent, up from the current 35 percent. Extends Clinton-era caps on itemized deductions and the phase-out of the personal exemption for individuals making more than $250,000 and couples earning more than $300,000.

—Estate tax: Estates would be taxed at a top rate of 40 percent, with the first $5 million in value exempted for individual estates and $10 million for family estates. In 2012, such estates were subject to a top rate of 35 percent.

—Capital gains, dividends: Taxes on capital gains and dividend income exceeding $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families would increase from 15 percent to 20 percent.

—Alternative minimum tax: Permanently addresses the alternative minimum tax and indexes it for inflation to prevent nearly 30 million middle- and upper-middle income taxpayers from being hit with higher tax bills averaging almost $3,000. The tax was originally designed to ensure that the wealthy did not avoid owing taxes by using loopholes.

—Other tax changes: Extends for five years Obama-sought expansions of the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and an up-to-$2,500 tax credit for college tuition. Also extends for one year accelerated “bonus” depreciation of business investments in new property and equipment, a tax credit for research and development costs and a tax credit for renewable energy such as wind-generated electricity.

—Unemployment benefits: Extends jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed for one year.

—Cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors: Blocks a 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors for one year. The cut is the product of an obsolete 1997 budget formula.

—Social Security payroll tax cut: Allows a 2-percentage-point cut in the payroll tax first enacted two years ago to lapse, which restores the payroll tax to 6.2 percent.

—Across-the-board cuts: Delays for two months $109 billion worth of across-the-board spending cuts set to start striking the Pentagon and domestic agencies this week. Cost of $24 billion is divided between spending cuts and new revenues from rule changes on converting traditional individual retirement accounts into Roth IRAs.

—Continue Farm subsidy for grain that will prevent the price of milk doubling.

Fiscal Cliff Averted? Tentative Deal Reached

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

WASHINGTON — Tonight, last-minute negotiations between the White House, represented by Vice-President Joe Biden, and the Senate Republican leadership, secured a tentative agreement to avert going over the fiscal cliff. The measure will not pass in time for Congress to meet its Dec. 31 deadline.

The Senate, in a pre-dawn vote just two hours after the deadline passed to avert automatic tax increases, overwhelmingly approved legislation Tuesday morning at 2:42 a.m. that would allow tax rates to rise only on affluent Americans while temporarily suspending sweeping, across-the-board spending cuts. The vote was 89-8. Congress is expected to vote today.

Under the agreement, tax rates would jump to 39.6 percent from 35 percent for individual incomes over $400,000 and couples over $450,000, while tax deductions and credits would start phasing out on incomes as low as $250,000, a clear win for President Obama, who campaigned on higher taxes for the wealthy.

Just last month and for months, Republicans in Congress said they would never agree to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. Mr. Obama won re-election on the promise that he would raise those rates and raise them permanently.

Democrats also secured a full year’s extension of unemployment insurance without strings attached and without offsetting spending cuts, a $30 billion cost.

In an effort to win over other Democrats uneasy with the proposal, Vice President Joe Biden who bargained directly with Republican leaders, traveled to the Capitol tonight for a 90-minute meeting with his former Senate colleagues. As negotiators ended, officials said that the two top Democrats on Capitol Hill — Senator Harry Reid of Nevada and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California — had signed off on the agreement.

Negotiators agreed to put off $110 billion in across-the-board cuts to military and domestic programs for two months while broader deficit reduction talks continue. Those cuts begin to go into force on Wednesday, and that deadline, too, might be missed before Congress approves the legislation.

The nature of the deal ensured that the war between the White House and Congressional Republicans on taxes and spending will continue at least until the spring.

There appears to be something for everyone to hate in this bill but most agreements generally contain sour grapes for both sides.