Via The Daily Caller, House Speaker John Boehner said Obama’s newest proposal, which includes $1.4 trillion in tax increases, “cannot pass the House or Senate.”
Boehner stressed that an agreement on the fiscal cliff must address Washington’s “spending problem” but “serious differences” between the GOP and the White House remain.
“The president and I had a deliberate call yesterday, and we spoke honestly and openly about the differences that we face but the president’s calling for $1.4 trillion worth of revenue, that cannot pass the House or the Senate,” Boehner told reporters on Wednesday.
In his weekly press conference, Boehner said Obama is “slow-walking” the discussions and bringing us closer to the fiscal cliff:
I won’t rehash my argument that the President is no more willing to risk a no deal scenario than Republicans, and therefore that he and his advisors are bluffing when they say they are willing to “go over the cliff” if a new bill is not to their liking. But after talking to Republican friends on Capitol Hill, I am confident that I have convinced no one of this point. It appears many key Republicans believe that a no-bill scenario is unacceptable and must be avoided at any cost.
If enough Republican Members of Congress believe this, and if the President knows they believe this, then Speaker Boehner has literally zero leverage in his negotiations. The President can dictate his terms because Republicans think he is willing to walk away from a bad deal and they are not.
At the same time many conservatives on and off Capitol Hill are talking about their policy views on what a possible Obama-Boehner deal should (or even “must”) include. I hear and read that marginal rates must not increase, or that we shouldn’t raise taxes by the $1.6 trillion the President demands, or that there must be a procedural path to enact tax reform, or that the defense sequester must be mitigated, or that a deal must include significant spending cuts and entitlement reforms. While I share these policy views, it seems absurd to be simultaneously making these demands of your negotiator while giving him no leverage.
If, however, there is a third option, one that is terrible but not inconceivable, then there is at least some minimum floor to the negotiations. If a third option exists, then Speaker Boehner and the Congressional Republicans he represents can reject demands from the President that are worse than that third alternative. Even a highly undesirable third legislative option changes the negotiating dynamic, if it is minimally tolerable in the extreme. If most Republicans would prefer that third option to a no-deal “go off the cliff” scenario, then the Speaker has at least a little leverage to reject or ignore outrageous demands from the President. He can say, “No thanks, Mr. President, we’ll just go with option C, whether you want us to or not.” The negotiating term for option C is a new and stronger BATNA: Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. The risk of going over the fiscal cliff is irrelevant because Republicans have a backup plan if there is no deal with the President.
Read on for specifics.
The Weekly Standard: McConnell: Only Thing Obama’s Left on the Table ‘Is the Varnish’:
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, blasted President Barack Obama for not leaving anything on the “fiscal cliff” negotiating table this morning in remarks on the Senate floor.“The President and his allies have taken so many things off the table the only thing left is the varnish,” said McConnell. “The President now seems to think, after his re-election, that if all he talks about are the need for tax hikes, and that’s all reporters write about, we’ll all magically forget the part about needing balance. It’s a classic bait and switch. And we’re seeing new versions of it nearly every day now.”
his week the Senate Republican Caucus launched a new website, “Stop the Nuclear Option,” to provide Americans with more information about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) plan to change the body’s rules to prevent filibusters on the Senate floor in the next Congress.“[Changing the rules] would weaken and possibly eliminate the minority party’s ability to debate in the United States Senate,” Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told bloggers on conference call this afternoon. “It would silence the voices of nearly half of all Americans, who are currently represented by Republicans.”
Johnson himself wants to “preserve full rights to the filibuster” and said he believes that the rule change would “harm the institution.”
Linked by Michelle Malkin, thanks!