Just flashed across the screens was that the final vote on the tax portion of so-called Plan B had been cancelled tonight because John Boehner did not have enough votes.
What a mess.
You don’t go there unless you are certain you can get there.
Plan C, The Christmas Plan, is the only alternative right now:
I say call his bluff. If a deal which tackles deficits from both revenue and spending can be reached this month, great.
If not, pass a 90 day extension of current tax rates and whatever else is needed to postpone the “cliff,” and go home for Christmas to give time for a Grand Bargain which puts Democratic sacred cows on the table.
Let Harry Reid refuse to bring it to a vote, and Obama refuse to sign it. Their inaction will be the reason for taxes rising for everyone.
Here’s Boehner’s statement:
“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff. The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation’s crippling debt. The Senate must now act.”
From my post earlier today:
Preserve the status quo pending negotiations on spending reductions and entitlement reforms until after the artificial year-end deadline, which is Obama’s big pressure point, passes.
It will be harder for Harry Reid to table, or Obama to veto, something which preserves the status quo pending further negotiations, even if they know it ultimately weakens their hand.
And if they do nix it, they will not have the smokescreen of claiming Boehner and the Republicans walked away from negotiations.
Update — For those of you who have not been following, Plan C has been my plan since early December, it is not a reaction to the failure tonight. The basic premise is that no agreement can be reached with Obama this calendar year because any deal Obama will offer when he thinks we are under the pressure of a year end “cliff” will be horrible. And sure enough, what little movement the White House has made has been horrible.
Remove the pressure point. Get passed Obama’s trump card, but in a way which makes it very hard for Obama to walk away and also does not concede substantive ground. That way is to kick the ball past New Year’s, because only with passage of more time will Obama have to negotiate on spending and entitlements.
Punting is better than fumbling. It looks like we are fumbling.