House Speaker John Boehner laid all his budget cards out on the table in a Wednesday news conference, and according to a Thursday report published on the Wall Street Journal’s website, he’s now waiting on President Barack Obama to make the next move.
“There are a lot of things that are possible to put the revenues the president seeks on the table, but none of it is going to be possible if the president insists on his position, insists on my way or the highway—that’s not the way to get to an agreement.” – House Speaker John Boehner (R-MO), speaking at a presss conference Friday.
Republicans, who are also dealing with the resignation of South Carolina’s Senator and Tea Party voice Jim DeMint, appear to be on the defensive with their political fates throw over a barrel. Democrats, emboldened by Obama’s hard line stance calling for tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, are in lockstep behind the president, with no sign of any sort of softening. For his part, Boehner’s newfound flexibility may reflect recent polling by the Washington Post and Pew Research, suggesting voters will hold the GOP accountable if the fiscal cliff is actually realized.
In a previous Washington Post report, dated Nov. 7, the House Speaker admitted that the current negotiations will only result in a temporary solution, and that the necessary reforms will need to be tackled in the coming year.
“We won’t solve the problem of our fiscal imbalance overnight, in the midst of a lame duck session of Congress. And we certainly won’t solve it by simply raising tax rates or taking a plunge off the fiscal cliff. What we can do is avert the cliff in a manner that serves as a downpayment on — and a catalyst for — major solutions, enacted in 2013, that begin to solve the problem.” – John Boehner, in a Nov. 7 Washington Post report.
According to the DailyKos, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was optimistic that Boehner’s decision to be open to such a tax hike, however small it might be, signaled a step in the right direction.
“It’s not about the rates. It’s about the money….It’s about getting the money to reduce the deficit, to grow the economy and to unleash that power.”
The Obama administration may also have been emboldened by a Labor Department report saying employers added about 146,000 jobs in November, according to a piece on the Wall Street Journal’s website dated Dec. 7. However, that same report stated that economists are concerned the nation’s economy may slow to 1 or even 0.5 percent growth, too little to even be considered a recovery.
Some conservatives and tea party activists have called for Republicans on Capitol Hill to hold out and allow the cliff to be realized, arguing it make the economy an issue Democrats would have to be held accountable for. Should the government be allowed to go “off the cliff,” government officials and business leaders worry that the combination of steep spending cuts to military and domestic programs, combined with a jump in the tax rate, will cause growth numbers to dive into negative territory, signaling the start of a new recession.