The United States House of Representatives ran off Capitol Hill on New Year’s Eve like hopeless and worthless cowards, on the way to blowing through Congress’ own deadline to deal with the tax and spending problems it created for itself, leaving the nation to begin sliding down the “fiscal cliff.” But, not before taping segments for their propaganda network, FOX News.
The lawmakers managed that feat despite knowing about the deadline for a year and a half, and despite having a deal in sight that would preserve Bush-era tax cuts for income under $450,000 for couples and under $400,000 for individuals. The tentative deal also would extend emergency unemployment insurance and secure other tax policies that generally help the middle class.
The Senate was still looking for a way to vote Monday night on the plan, which would raise some $715 billion over 10 years — much less than the $1.6 billion for which President Barack Obama had been hoping as part of what he called a larger, balanced debt-and-deficit plan.
But Senate Republicans and their aides said that Democrats tried to delay the sequester spending cuts even longer, for a full year. The GOP has been pushing for cuts, beyond those they won in the 2011 debt ceiling agreement, when Congress just barely avoided a historic default.
Many Republicans also reacted angrily to President Barack Obama’s speech earlier in the day, which they heard as blaming them for the standoff, but need to curb the anger, they have been showcasing for four years now, leading sensible people to realize what they really are struggling with, and it’s within themselves.
Republican congressional staffers expressed similar anger, suggesting that Democrats were doing everything they could to stop a deal while appearing to push for one.
If House Republicans balk at the current deal, Democrats, who are not thrilled that Obama is abandoning his campaign promise to set the tax hike threshold at $250,000 for couples, would have to provide the bulk of the votes in the lower chamber. If too many liberals also balk, the odds of passage could tighten quite a bit.
The House adjourned at 6:30 p.m., although Boehner told members to stay near the Capitol in case the Senate moved something sooner than expected. A Senate vote by 10 p.m. likely would not be sufficient. The House was set to resume at noon on New Year’s Day, 12 hours over the cliff.
A number of House GOP aides argued that with a deal in the works, the situation was not especially dire. The spending cuts and tax increases are slow-moving, they noted, and passing something on Tuesday soon after the deadline would be little different from passing something Monday night before the deadline.
The stakes could rise considerably, though, if the Senate deal disintegrates in the House.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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