Just hours ago, as a scathing example of how our elected officials are failing the nation, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid concedes that Congress will likely fail to avoid the looming Fiscal Cliff. The Cliff will automatically trigger massive tax hikes and spending cuts on January 2, 2013. The combination of increased taxes and sudden spending cuts have many economists predicting the U.S. economy will go into a tailspin and another recession.
If the nation does go over the Cliff, the first cuts and highest taxes should go right to Congressional salaries and bank accounts as a national “thanks, but no thanks” for their inept handling of the national budget. Of course, Congressional salaries will go untouched regardless of how bad the Cliff is, which is perhaps the real reason the nation does not have a balanced budget.
Senator Reid places the blame for Congress’ inability to avoid the Cliff squarely on Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s shoulders. Calling Boehner handling of the House a “dictatorship,” Senator Reid said the Republican-controlled House of Representatives could have easily passed a plan approved by President Obama. That plan, Reid says, would have had the support of enough Democrat and Republicans to pass into law and void the Cliff. Reid pressed the point sharply on the Senate floor this morning:
“Everyone knows that if they had brought up the Senate-passed bill, it would pass overwhelmingly. But the speaker says, no we can’t do that. It’s [the House] being operated by a dictatorship of the speaker.”
Speaker Boehner’s spokesman, Brendan Buck, quickly shot back:
“Senator Reid should talk less and legislate more. The House has already passed legislation to avoid the entire fiscal cliff. Senate Democrats have not.”
Thus, Senator Reid wants the Republican-controlled House to pass a Senate Democratic bill to resolve the crisis. Speaker Boehner, however, wants the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass legislation already approved by House Republicans.
The impasse caused President Obama to call the two congressional leaders late yesterday, as well as place calls with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, urging a compromise. As of this afternoon, however, Senator Reid conceded that the outlook on avoiding the Fiscal Cliff looks gloomy.
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