Archive for the ‘fiscal cliff’ Tag

Progress On Fiscal Cliff Continues   Leave a comment

Brief update..minutes ago, the House voted and passed a resolution laying out the actual debate over the fiscal cliff package passed by the Senate late last night; at the moment, the House is beginning debate on the fiscal cliff package and a vote is expected sometime tonight(either late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning). More to come as the night continues on.

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Posted January 1, 2013 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Fiscal Cliff Deal Passes Senate, Hits Snag In House   Leave a comment

After passing the Senate last night by a vote of 89-8, the fiscal cliff package being debated in Washington made it past its’ first major hurdle but may face a new set of hurdles over in the House…

The Senate-approved compromise to avert the “fiscal cliff” ran headlong into opposition from the No. 2 House Republican and other GOP lawmakers Tuesday, raising questions about how — and in what form — Congress might be able to give final approval to the measure.

“I do not support the bill,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told reporters after Republicans held a lengthy closed-door meeting to gauge support for the compromise. Participants in the extraordinary New Year’s Day meeting said there was widespread criticism that the bill did not contain enough spending cuts.

Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio said the overwhelming sentiment among House Republicans was to amend the bill to incorporate more spending cuts and send it back to the Senate. Several lawmakers and aides said such a move was likely, and on balance the GOP reaction seemed to seriously complicate efforts to enact a new law before the current Congress expires on Thursday.

“The speaker and leader laid out options to the members and listened to feedback,” said Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “The lack of spending cuts in the Senate bill was a universal concern amongst members in today’s meeting. Conversations with members will continue throughout the afternoon on the path forward.”

Exiting the meeting, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., said he was among lawmakers who wanted the deal to include more spending cuts.”I’d be shocked if this does not go back to the Senate” with changes by the House, Bachus said.

On the one hand, it’d be just like the lunkheads in the House to sink this for petty partisan reasons…on the other hand, who ever thought it would pass the Senate with 89 votes?

Posted January 1, 2013 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Tentative Fiscal Cliff Deal In The Works   Leave a comment

We may not have to go over the fiscal cliff after all….according to reports, a tentative deal has been reached. The major points to the agreement are as follows(all quotes are from the Think Progress article, 2nd link above):

  1. Tax rate adjustments. The deal would extend all of the Bush tax cuts for incomes below $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families, while reinstating the Clinton-era 39.6 percent tax rate for income above those thresholds. It will also push the capital gains rate on investment income back to 20 percent for income above $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families. President Obama had asked for an extension of rates only for incomes below $250,000.
  2. Stimulus tax credits. Three tax credits expanded as part of the stimulus will be extended for one year as part of the compromise. The America’s Opportunity Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Earned Income Tax Credit collectively benefit nearly 20 million Americans each year, and extending them was a priority for Obama and Democrats. Republicans allowed all three to expire in tax legislation earlier this year.
  3. Payroll tax cuts. The payroll tax cut would expire as part of this compromise. The payroll tax cut, which benefits all wage-earning workers, is the most damaging piece of the “fiscal cliff” according to the Congressional Budget Office. Republicans have opposed extending the payroll tax cut in the past; many Democrats opposed its extension over fears that it would undermine Social Security, which it helps fund.
  4. Unemployment insurance benefits. The federal unemployment insurance program would be extended for one year under this deal. Without an extension, more than 2 million would lose benefits at the beginning of 2013, while another million would lose them in the early part of the year.
  5. Estate tax. The estate tax was set to revert to its Clinton-era levels, where it was taxed at 55 percent after a $1 million exemption. This deal would set the exemption at $5 million and tax at a 40 percent rate after that — at a cost of $375 billion over 10 years compared to the Clinton level.
  6. Miscellaneous. The deal would also include a permanent fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax and a one-year “doc fix,” which would prevent cuts in provider payments through Medicare. It also extends certain corporate tax provisions for another year.

The key to this deal is that, by all appearances, they decided to split the tax half of the fiscal cliff from the spending half, opting to defer the sequestration debate for another day; in addition, it also appears they have put off debate on debt ceiling increases, which raises that possible specter down the road. But, and this is the but…if this is the agreement that gets America away from the fiscal edge, then it appears that while both sides bent some, Republicans bent further over to the center than did the Democrats in coming to this potential agreement.

 

Posted December 31, 2012 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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…And Away We Go….   1 comment

….over the fiscal cliff, if news reports are to be believed. Apparently Speaker Boehner has nothing better to do than get drunk and perfect his artificial tan while America goes sailing over the fiscal cliff. If that’s the case, then why in the hell should Democrats’ negotiate over anything in the fiscal cliff package?

Posted December 31, 2012 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Fiscal Cliff Talks Hit Major Snag   Leave a comment

It would appear after all that America is indeed headed off the fiscal cliff…quoting NBC News:

Senate Democrats said talks toward resolving the so-called fiscal cliff before the end-of-year deadline had hit a “major setback” on Sunday afternoon due to a standoff over proposed changes to Social Security.

Democrats said that Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ky., are insisting that a deal to resolve the fiscal cliff include what is known as “chained CPI” — a change in how Social Security benefits are calculated to increase over time.

Just before a self-imposed deadline at which Senate leaders were set to brief their respective caucuses about a prospective deal, negotiations toward a scaled-back agreement to avoid the onset of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts on Jan. 1 appeared on the verge of breakdown.

Oh, well…judging by all the latest polling, the Republicans are going to get blamed for this one, so let’s jump off together, shall we?

Posted December 30, 2012 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Five Things To Watch In Today’s Fiscal Cliff Meeting   Leave a comment

NBC First Read: Cliffs Notes – Five Things To Watch At Today’s White House Meeting

…and those five things are:

  1. The tone of the negotiators. One way to tell what might happen in regards to the fiscal cliff is how those involved talk afterwards; if Boehner, Reid, Cantor, Pelosi and others appear jointly to speak about what transpired at the White House today, that could bode well for whatever decision they make. If, on the other hand, they appear separately with the press, that’s not a good sign.
  2. The process of the matter. In recent days, there’s been calls for the Senate to send their own fiscal cliff package, which they’ve already voted on, over to the House for them to vote on. Only one problem…under the Constitution, all tax & appropriations bills must begin in the lower chamber(i.e. the House); normally, this would be the end of any Senate package except that there is a pathway they can use, which is this: the Senate could take up any bill already passed by the House that is currently on the Senate calendar, offer a substitute amendment to said bill(assumption here is that the fiscal cliff package would be the substitute), pass it in lieu of the original bill, get unanimous consent to move forward on the amended bill, pass amended bill and send back to the House with the amendment therein. If fiscal cliff negotiators come out of their meeting today with a clear path on how to proceed, that could spell good tidings.
  3. Numbers, numbers, numbers. One of the major stumbling blocks to any fiscal cliff package has been where the threshold for the top tax rates should be set at; Republicans want it to remain at 35% regardless of income while Democrats want to, in principle, raise it back to the 39.6% rate, set during the Clinton Administration. One possible solution here might be a compromise: raise the rate to 37 or 38 percent with an income limit of 250-400 thousand dollars income. In addition, another sticking point has been the amount of spending cuts that will have to be made in conjunction with revenue increases: Republicans are calling for $800 billion or so in revenue-matched cuts while Democrats are calling for roughly $1 trillion in revenue-matched cuts, down from their original amount of $1.2-$1.4 trillion. Here, another compromise might be a sign of progress on fiscal cliff discussions; the question, of course, is where the lines are eventually drawn.
  4. Screw this; just kick the can down the road again. This could be the deal in and of itself; just pass something that delays its’ until a later time and date, which is what got us in this predicament in the first place 18 months ago. The very reason America’s staring at a fiscal cliff that we’ll likely go over in a few days was due to the summer 2011 debt-ceiling talks, when America’s credit rating was degraded due to Congress not getting its’ act together when Washington smashed into the nation’s debt ceiling; God only knows what the markets might do if Washington engages in another can-kicking routine now…
  5. Watch the base, everyone. One of the reasons politics in Washington have become so polarized is the fact that leaders have to be careful not to anger their respective parties’ bases(liberals & progressives on the Democratic side, conservatives on the Rpeublican side); if there appears to be a lot of saber-rattling anger from either of these groups, there might not be a fiscal cliff deal that would pass.

In the final analysis, any fiscal cliff package that is agreed to would need a bipartisan push to pass in either house of Congress but there are plenty of minefields that the respective negotiators will have to navigate to get any sort of package passed…meanwhile, the rest of us out in the hustings will just have to simply wait and bide our time.

Posted December 28, 2012 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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Tea Party, Meet Cliff..   3 comments

…now do us all a favor and go jump off said cliff.

No, really…if you’re that insistent that taxes for the 1% remain as low as possible, then fine; that’s your right. But you don’t have the right to take the rest of us in this country(ya’ know, the 99%) off the same damn cliff…and to think, in my last few years as a conservative, I used to support some of these wingnut ideas….ewww. *shivers in horrifying remembrance*

Just remember, wingnuts…elections have consequences and y’all lost, period. End of story. Have fun sailing over the cliff… *then adds in a “Home Alone”ish villainy voice* …ya’ filthy animals!  😛

h-t to Crooks & Liars

Posted December 26, 2012 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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