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Old 07-20-2012, 10:41 AM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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The Fiscal Cliff Approacheth

In an effort to make this thread sticky-worthy, I am going to update this OP to keep casual glancers informed.

This post is the official one-stop shopping of the key points/developments of the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Far as I understand, the fiscal cliff:

1. Gets rid of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
2. Gets rid of the Bush tax cuts for everybody else.
3. Slashes defense spending by something like $500 billion.
4. Slashes domestic programs like the NIH, Head Start, and medicine/drug care for the poor by $500 billion.

The new idea is for Democrats to allow the cliff to hit, then immediately introduce a bill that would bring 2, 4, and some of 3 back. But not 1.

Here is a chart detailing exactly what the fiscal cliff is going to do, financially:

Spoiler!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
New CBO projection: if the fiscal cliff hits, we are in another recession, and lose two million jobs.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...87L0JV20120822
The poor would be hurt by the fiscal cliff:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Overall, if the tax breaks from the 2009 stimulus are allowed to expire—the EITC and Child Tax Credit expansions, along with American Opportunity Credit for college tuition—the poorest 20 percent of Americans would see their taxes go up by $209 on average, reducing their after-tax income by 1.9 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center.
As would the middle class:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
According to estimates by the Tax Policy Center, more than half of all married couples will owe an additional tax of around $4,000 unless Congress acts. And more than a third of families with children will fall subject to the AMT, with parents of three or more children facing an extra tax of $4,700.

Among married couples with at least two children and adjusted gross income between $75,000 and $100,000, the center estimates that 84 percent will face a significantly higher tax bill this year because of the AMT.
There seems to be some consensus between the parties that substantial revenues want to be raised. Boehner and the GOP hopes that's through limiting tax deductions rather than tax raises.

Obama's opening offer, essentially:

Quote:
  • Allow the Bush tax cuts on high earners to expire. $849 billion
  • Limit itemized deductions to 28 percent, close some loopholes and deductions on high earners, eliminate tax breaks for oil and gas companies, eliminate the carried interest loophole, plus a few other items. $584 billion
  • Create a special "Buffett Rule" tax rate for millionaires. $47 billion
  • Restore the estate tax to 2009 levels. $143 billion
  • Limit corporate income shifting to low-tax countries. $148 billion
  • Other miscellaneous tax increases and reductions. About -$200 billion
  • Total: $1.6 trillion

Last edited by Direckshun; 11-14-2012 at 09:54 AM..
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:24 PM   #721
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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That said, I've been watching CNN, and Eric Cantor has come out against this deal.

Even though Boehner is likely to retain his post as Speaker (nobody else reportedly wants that shit job), Cantor speaks for the GOP House.

If the deal can't get auto-passage in the House (Boehner has previously promised that he'd put a bill up for a vote if it met certain conditions that the Senate bill met), then it's unlikely Reid will bring up any modified bargain in the Senate.

We're still over the cliff in that case, in which case you can say hello to the Obama Grand Bargain Bill in late January.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:27 PM   #722
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With a bargain at 400k, the hike would be akin to somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd farthest bars on the right hand side.



Senate Republicans voted for this.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:32 PM   #723
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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If we go off the cliff, it will be because of Republican House resistance.

Republicans, of course, will be owning the cliff. As we all knew they would be.

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast....revisited.html

The Long Game, Revisited
Andrew Sullivan
1 Jan 2013 02:11 PM

It's been interesting to see how the final mini-cliff-deal on taxes has been greeted on left and right. The left is pissed that Obama did not go fully over the cliff, using the post-re-election sunsetting of the Bush tax cuts to get all the revenues he campaigned on. The right is eager to get on with the debt ceiling fight, keen to forget the implosion of Plan B and their votes for one of the biggest tax increases in recent times (see the above chart from Zachary Goldfarb ranking the tax hikes in terms of their percentage of GDP). Obama yesterday basically said that he regarded the tax increases as simply the premise on which any future Grand Bargain needs to be agreed upon. And he is insisting that the next deal - on entitlements and tax reform - be equally balanced between revenue increases and spending cuts.

Well he can insist, but why would the GOP not talk right past him? The answer to that is that Obama has not lost all his leverage. The sequester remains - and is suspended only for two months (a reasonable compromise, although I'd have preferred it going into force already as a way to pressure these politicians into grander ambitions). The threat to the Pentagon therefore endures, which frightens those Republicans (and many Democrats) still wedded to a Cold War defense strategy a couple of decades after the Cold War ended. And the threat to Medicare hasn't gone away for the Democrats. Both sides will want to mitigate these crude cuts - and closing loopholes is one way to do it. Another Small Bargain with more revenues - and fewer loopholes - is therefore not necessarily a pipe dream.

And so you see that Obama's re-election has meant the biggest increase in revenues to the federal government since 1968. That would not have happened under Romney. And if the tax deal is not as big as the polls suggest Obama could have gotten away with, it is in part because of the contextual reasons Bruce Bartlett lays out here, in part because Obama genuinely believes in exercizing responsibility as president, but also in part because the president wants to avoid too much austerity too soon as we inch out of the worst recession since the 1930s.

It seems to me this latter point is under-rated. The left often talked of the fiscal cliff as if it were only win-win for Obama. It wasn't, in my view. He faced two dangers: of seeming unable to come up with a compromise (which is integral to his appeal) and of seeing the US economy sink under the weight of an imprudent and drastic reduction in demand. As Josh Marshall has noted, Obama always wanted a deal. No president wants to kick off his second term with a double-dip recession. He got half of a deal that will not have as drastic an effect as the full cliff-divers wanted.

Does the promised debt-ceiling hostage-taking by the GOP render all this strategy moot? Maybe. But it seems to me that the GOP has hurt itself so far since the election on fiscal matters - appearing, especially last week, as a herd of feral, foam-flecked cats. I don't see their threatening to ruin America's credit unless they get to cut Medicare by $500 billion over a decade as a particularly strong political hand. Any party triggering a self-imposed credit crisis as the economy recovers will not be rewarded politically. On that, especially after 2011, the president has the upper hand. Americans do not like monkeying around with the national credit rating as a way to cut medical care for grandma.

More to the point, the GOP has yet to even lay out the details of its proposed entitlement cuts (and campaigned in part against them). One way out would be for both parties to focus on cutting the Pentagon bloat - but that's not going to happen any time soon. And so I can see revenue-raising tax reform returning as a way to alleviate some of the political pain on both sides.

In other words, I can see Obama's logic here. What he's getting - which is a gradual shift toward more fiscal responsibility, with key protections for the working poor and the unemployed in place - is all he really wants right now. Like many of Obama's incremental achievements, you can sometimes miss the forest for the trees. We have the biggest tax hike in decades - without a sudden recession. And we have huge, painful spending cuts looming unless new revenue is found through tax reform. The end result - for all its unseemly messiness right now - may still be a sane, graduated fiscal readjustment as the economy recovers. The sequester can be back-loaded a little to find that elusive sweet spot between structural fiscal rebalancing and economic growth. And we could even clean up the tax code a little.

It's not great, but it will do. Sometimes, the little advances are preferable under certain circumstances to big breakthroughs. And Obama has to face a rabid Republican House probably for his next four years. They self-destructed on Plan B. They will almost certainly have to swallow hard and vote for big tax increases in the next day or so. And a campaign to slash Medicare is their next major goal. A phrase springs to mind.

Meep meep.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:41 PM   #724
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The country will own it nitwit. The only reason the House may say no is because the Senate and The WH wont cut spending. Thats the republicans fault? **** it, I say lets go over and force it.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:41 PM   #725
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Amusing.

http://www.theamericanconservative.c...keynesians-now

We’re All Still Keynesians Now
By Scott Galupo
December 31, 2012, 10:54 PM

Lawmakers in Washington provisionally reached a deal (nothing yet is set in stone as I write) to avoid going over a “fiscal cliff” of their own infernal design.

Except that, technically, the country will go over the cliff, as the House won’t vote on the measure—a compromise reached by Vice President Biden and Sen. Mitch McConnell—until tomorrow, or possibly Wednesday.

Grover Norquist went the full Orwellian, maintaining this deal, which raises taxes on individuals making $400,000 and couples making $450,000—the first such increase in 20 years—is not really a tax increase.

And to top it off, half of what made the fiscal cliff so threatening to the fragile economic recovery—roughly $1 trillion in “sequestration” cuts to the federal budget over 10 years—has been delayed for two months, right around the time that a fight over the debt ceiling will be in full swing.

The short version: We went over the cliff, but not really. Everyone’s taxes will go up in 2013 (if you account for expiration of the payroll tax holiday). And we get to do it all again two months from now. Which means the cliff was just a bridge to another cliff. Or something like that.

As to the question of who “won” the standoff, that verdict, too, is murky. On its face, the deal is a victory for the White House and Democrats in Congress. They didn’t get the revenue they’d been seeking—they’ll get about $600 billion, well short of the $1.2 billion compromise nearly reached with House Speaker John Boehner—but they gave up virtually nothing in spending and extended unemployment insurance for a year without offsetting the $30 billion pricetag. The key, as uneasy liberals have noted, is what it will mean for debt-ceiling negotiations. With taxes off the table, will the focus henceforth be squarely on cutting spending, as Republicans insist? Or will Obama extract more revenue for any cuts he agrees to, as he insisted in a press conference Monday?

How this will play out is anyone’s guess, but it’s hard to bet against the assumption that Congress will find some way to avoid imposing pain in the short term.

We’re all still Keynesians now, like it or not.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:03 PM   #726
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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This deal alone will cost us more than $4 trillion over ten years compared to having gone over the cliff.

I'd expect the incoming debt ceiling deal will reduce that.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-mone...lion-price-tag

CBO: 'Fiscal cliff' deal carries $4 trillion price tag over next decade
By Peter Schroeder
01/01/13 02:07 PM ET

The Senate deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" will add roughly $4 trillion to the deficit when compared to current law, according to new numbers from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The CBO determined Tuesday that the package, hammered out late Monday evening by Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would — over the next decade — come with a $3.9 trillion price tag.

The agreement, which is pending before the House after passing in a 89-8 Senate vote early Tuesday, would extend lower tax rates on annual household income under $450,000 and postpone automatic spending cuts for two months.

The extension of lower tax rates for a bulk of the nation's taxpayers and the addition of a permanent patch to the alternative minimum tax would add roughly $3.6 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, the CBO said. Other individual, business, and energy tax extenders would add another $76 billion. The extension of unemployment benefits would cost roughly $30 billion, and the so-called "doc fix" would tally another $25 billion through fiscal 2022.

The CBO says the budget agreement will lead to an overall increase in spending of about $330 billion over 10 years.

The combination of tax hikes and spending cuts that make up the fiscal cliff — if allowed to proceed — would improve the nation's deficit, but economic experts on both sides warn its dramatic impact would push the nation back into a recession if allowed to take effect in 2013.

The CBO price tag is based on a "current law" baseline, which assumes that all components of the "fiscal cliff" will take effect, which includes a wide range of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts. Neither party in Congress is seriously considered allowing those policies to take effect unaltered.

White House officials and lawmakers who voted for the bil argue the bill would raise $620 billion in new tax revenue compared to current policy.

The new numbers come as both parties in the House are grappling with whether to support the deal. The two sides met separately behind closed doors to discuss the Senate package.

In addition to indefinitely extending the Bush-era income tax rates for family income up to $450,000 and individual income up to $400,000, the agreement would also set the estate tax rate at 40 percent, up from 35, and exempt inheritances below $5 million.

The deal would also increase the capital gains and dividends tax rates to 20 percent from the 15 percent level in 2012 — although both rates jumped Tuesday when the U.S. entered the new year.

The deal would also postpone automatic spending cuts known as the sequester for two months, offsetting the $24 billion cost of that delay with a combination of other spending cuts and new revenues.

The CBO estimate comes after the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated it would reduce federal revenue by $3.93 trillion over the next 10 years when compared to current law.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, an advocacy group that supports broad deficit-reduction reforms, estimates the enitre package would increase deficits by about $4.6 trillion over the next ten years compared to current law projections.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:05 PM   #727
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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I don't think Brietbart.com is doing its math very well, but it's arguing that the bill is a 41:1 spending/cuts deal.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:08 PM   #728
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http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/...istory/266729/

Joe Biden: The Most Influential Vice President in History?
From the fiscal cliff to gun control to Afghanistan, Scranton's favorite son has transformed himself from affable gaffer to West Wing powerhouse.
By Michael Hirsh
Dec 31 2012, 3:11 PM ET

Barack Obama just can't get enough out of Joe Biden these days. And anybody who's been following Biden's steady ascent in stature over the last several years -- from gaffe-happy presidential contender to one of the most powerful vice presidents in U.S. history -- couldn't be less surprised.

Perhaps the only surprise at all is that, in contrast to a year ago, it took Biden quite this long to become the president's point man on the latest round of fiscal talks. The exact reason for the delay is not clear. Perhaps it is that, only a week and a half ago, Obama had called on his vice president to lead a commission to expedite recommendations on a truly serious national issue, gun violence (as opposed to the present trumped-up issue, fiscal reform, which requires only the smidgeon of political courage necessary to depart from ideological rigidities). Maybe Obama wanted to keep his veep's powder dry for that.

Or maybe it is just that, in the awkward pattern of political dance partnerships that have emerged over the last couple of years, whenever Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner fail to execute -- as they did after the "Plan B" debacle -- it's Biden and his old Senate colleague, Mitch McConnell, who step into the spotlight. The Biden-McConnell duo didn't cut it during last year's cliffhanger over the debt limit, of course. But in a sign of just how important a figure the vice president has become in Washington, Biden's absence until now has been one reason that Republicans doubted Obama's seriousness about cutting a deal, my colleague Chris Frates reported last week.

As the inevitable brinksmanship plays out, it's useful to step back and look at just how central a role Biden has played throughout Obama's presidency.

Over the past four years Biden has insinuated himself into the White House, while seeming hardly to try, in a way that no other vice president in memory has done. He and Obama, both consummate pragmatists though they tend to be liberal in outlook, have achieved something close to a mind meld across a whole range of issues, including foreign policy, the economy, and political strategy. Biden said it outright in his speech during the presidential campaign: "I literally get to be the last guy in the room with the president. That's our arrangement." That's no small thing in a town where power is often measured in minutes of presidential face time.

It wasn't long ago that Biden's predecessor, Dick Cheney, was seen as the gold -- some might say sulfurous -- standard in vice presidential power. Biden himself, ironically enough, once described Cheney as "probably the most dangerous vice president we've had" because of what many observers saw as Cheney's undue influence over George W. Bush.

But in terms of the sheer number of issues Biden has influenced in a short time, the current vice president is bidding to surpass even Cheney. Fiscal issues and guns are only a small sampling of this vice president's portfolio. Back in 2010 it was Biden's office that, in the main, orchestrated the handover to the Iraqis. It is Biden's view of Afghanistan that has, bit by bit, come to dominate thinking inside the 2014 withdrawal plan. On financial reform it was Biden who prodded an indecisive Obama to embrace, at long last, Paul Volcker's idea of barring banks from risky trading, according to Austan Goolsbee, formerly the head of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. The VP also tilted the discussion in favor of a bailout of the Big Three auto companies, according to Jared Bernstein, Biden's former economic adviser. "I think he made a difference in president's thinking," Bernstein said. "He understood the importance of the auto companies to their communities, and throughout the country."

In an interview in the fall of 2010, Biden could hardly contain his enthusiasm for his partnership with Obama. The phrase "Barack and I ... " fell from his lips naturally, with no hint of diffidence. He told me then that to his continuing surprise Obama has continued to "turn over big chunks" of policy to him to handle, whether it's Iraq, middle-class issues, overseeing the recovery act. At an early meeting, "all of sudden Obama stopped. He said, 'Joe will do Iraq. Joe knows more about Iraq than anyone..... The [Economic] Recovery Act, he just handed it over" to Biden, according to a senior administration official who attended the meetings and would talk about internal discussions only on condition of anonymity.

All of this power makes for quite an irony. Until his ascent to veep, Joe Biden was largely known as an amiable guy with a brilliant smile and a rather big mouth in which he frequently inserted his foot. And it's not as if anyone could have expected that he'd be much more impressive as vice president. The vice presidency is a job that has tried to be taken seriously throughout U.S. history -- and usually failed. John Adams, the nation's first vice president, bitterly derided his job as "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived." Like Adams, it was often men who had tasted real power who had the most disdain for the job. John Nance Garner, a former House speaker and FDR's equally slighted No. 2, declared the job wasn't "worth a bucket of warm spit" (it's believed he used an even saltier term). In modern times the vice presidency began to grow in stature, especially as the hair-trigger calculus of the Cold War required presidents to keep their putative replacements informed. But the job remained for the most part a funeral-attending, snooze-inducing post, barren of almost all constitutional duties.

The previous two vice presidents, Cheney and his predecessor, Al Gore, significantly changed that power dynamic. But on Biden's watch the "OVP" -- Office of the Vice President -- has become something even more: almost a conjoined twin to the presidency, organically linked and indivisible from the Oval Office. Cheney succeeded for a time by creating a kind of shadow presidency, yet there's nothing shadowy about Biden. Indeed Biden remains, in many respects, the anti-Cheney.

Yet in two critical respects the Delaware Democrat and the Wyoming Republican do resemble each other. Both are known to be confident in pushing their views, and both became masters of the Washington insider game. Whereas John Adams was not invited to participate in meetings of George Washington's Cabinet, Biden handles so many issues that when, say, the national security team leaves the Oval Office, he is often left alone chatting with Obama because he needs to be part of the discussion when the economic team arrives to brief the president. He will also often sit down with Obama in the residence before an important National Security Council meeting.

Now, if Barack Obama does leave a lasting legacy on gun violence that comes out of the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Conn., Biden will be a big part of it. And if anything like an agreement is reached on fiscal issues, Biden is likely to be part of that as well. His long Senate tenure, and the many relationships he developed across the aisle, are once again proving crucial. As I reported in the fall of 2010, shortly before the looming congressional election that gave the Republicans -- and the Tea Party -- the House, no one has more experience working with the other party, reaching across the aisle, and that talent may be critical to just keeping the government going in the coming months.

"He can sit down in foreign policy or other issues and find a common interest and drive the ideas forward. Look at what he did with Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond" in passing the chemical weapons treaty and crime bills, respectively, in the 1990s, his former chief of staff (and later successor), Ted Kaufman, noted back then. "I mean, Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond! You don't get more conservative than that."

Actually, you do, as the current breed of Republicans has demonstrated in this era. But if anyone can talk to Mitch McConnell, it's Joe Biden. Whose stock is still rising steadily.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:15 PM   #729
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Lindsey Graham to House GOP:

"We're going to get blamed and about two weeks into this, we'll fold like a cheap suit... Save your powder for the debt ceiling fight."
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:53 PM   #730
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
If we go off the cliff, it will be because of Republican House resistance.
The whole reason there's a fiscal cliff in the first place is because government deficits have grown so large and a debt ceiling increase was required to cover it. This "compromise" to avoid the fiscal cliff makes a mockery of the underlying problem by nearly completely avoiding the spending cut levels that were baked into the fiscal cliff triggers. Instead, that can is kicked down the road where it will most likely continue to be unaddressed due to the lack of leadership in our current government. And those spending cut targets barely made a downpayment on the problem to begin with.

You should be proud of the President you revere. He's managed to make a trivial legislative effort seem like a monumental struggle. Meanwhile, we continue to march toward the real fiscal cliff as indifference, primarily from democrats, continues to make it more severe. Did I say "proud"? I meant "ashamed".
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:27 PM   #731
mlyonsd mlyonsd is offline
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The whole reason there's a fiscal cliff in the first place is because government deficits have grown so large and a debt ceiling increase was required to cover it. This "compromise" to avoid the fiscal cliff makes a mockery of the underlying problem by nearly completely avoiding the spending cut levels that were baked into the fiscal cliff triggers. Instead, that can is kicked down the road where it will most likely continue to be unaddressed due to the lack of leadership in our current government. And those spending cut targets barely made a downpayment on the problem to begin with.

You should be proud of the President you revere. He's managed to make a trivial legislative effort seem like a monumental struggle. Meanwhile, we continue to march toward the real fiscal cliff as indifference, primarily from democrats, continues to make it more severe. Did I say "proud"? I meant "ashamed".
Until the voting public faces this fact we're screwed. Our debt problem and it's future ramifications are officially now owned by the democrats.
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:14 PM   #732
RedNeckRaider RedNeckRaider is offline
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Until the voting public faces this fact we're screwed. Our debt problem and it's future ramifications are officially now owned by the democrats.
Sadly this is true and it appears we will have to suffer the failure from these nitwits in order to wake people up. I wish there was a viable party option. As we lose more and more our rights and sink further into debt maybe this country will wake the **** up and stand against both parties and move back to freedom and liberty~
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:29 PM   #733
dirk digler dirk digler is offline
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Hopefully Boner does the right thing and put this bill up for a vote and quit screwing around.
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:48 PM   #734
mlyonsd mlyonsd is offline
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Hopefully Boner does the right thing and put this bill up for a vote and quit screwing around.
The best thing for the country would be for the house to give the senate the finger.

The correct political thing to do is go along with it now and let the democrats dig their own graves.
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:54 PM   #735
dirk digler dirk digler is offline
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The best thing for the country would be for the house to give the senate the finger.

The correct political thing to do is go along with it now and let the democrats dig their own graves.
The only people digging their own graves will be the Republicans if this doesn't come up for a vote.

The House\Boner couldn't get it done so they got on their knees and begged the Senate to bail them out, they did by a 89-8 vote. It is up to the House Republicans to do the right thing.

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