Indeed, let’s also say, just for the sake of conversation, that the liberal policy experts lose the argument and Congress rejects the agreement. Dems decide it’s a bridge too far, so they scuttle the deal and take their chances.
What’s Plan B?
I don’t mean this to sound snarky and this isn’t a rhetorical question; I’m genuinely interested in understanding the back-up strategy. When I posed this question yesterday to some Capitol Hill aides I know, they said they’d recommit to fighting even harder for the original Obama tax plan — permanent breaks for those under $250k, Clinton-era top rates for those above $250k. If/when this week’s compromise goes down, Republicans, they said, would likely cave and accept the Democratic approach. They’d be out of options — it’d be a choice between the Dem plan and higher taxes for everyone. Dems would regain the leverage they lost before the midterms.
And that could work. The plan came seven votes shy of 60 the other day, but when push comes to shove, maybe those seven additional votes would come together, and Dems would win this fight over taxes.
But what then? How would extended unemployment benefits pass for the millions of jobless Americans who need them? What happens to the economic stimulus? What’s the strategy for getting quick approval for an expanded earned-income tax credit and the continuation of a college-tuition tax credit? With almost no time left on the clock, after winning the fight on tax policy, is the plan to simply punt on New START ratification, DADT repeal, the DREAM Act, food safety, and health care for Ground Zero workers, hoping for the best in the next Congress?
I understand very well what opponents on the left want to do to the tax deal, and why. I’m less clear on what happens next.
Let’s just start out by saying “I HATE REPUBLICANS.” I simply can not express how much it infuriates me that they are holding all this important legislation hostage for tax cuts for the super-rich. Despite the hissy fit about the small portion of Obama’s presser yesterday in which he chided his critics (and while I agree with what he said there, for the most part, I can’t help but wonder what he was thinking when he said it- you just knew it was going to infuriate the professional left), most of his presser was about the Republican perfidy and how he has to make the best out of this bullshit the Republicans are causing. Let’s always remember who the problem is here. It isn’t Obama. It is the Republicans and spineless Democrats in congress and the worthless blue dogs. And where to begin with Mary Landrieu, who is so concerned about the budget she had a personal hold on Obama’s nominee for the OMB for months. If hypocrisy is a sin, Dante needs to come up with a new level for that asshole.
But what happens if this is blocked? Are we under the impression the Republicans will just say “Ok. Let’s move on to the other stuff.” NAGA HAPPIN.
What is the plan to get just the middle class tax cuts extended? Pelosi, who I have decided is the hero of Capitol Hill, made sure a bill got out of the House last week and the Senate voted on that on Saturday and it died with only 53 votes in favor. What is the plan to get unemployment benefits extended for these millions of people? Jim DeMint and the nihilist/teahadist wing of the GOP doesn’t even want that to pass even WITH the tax cuts for the rich. What is the plan to do it separately?
If this deal is scuttled, then what? That is a serious question, and not snark. Personally, I’m cool with all the tax cuts expiring. I think taxes need to go up to start paying for our wars, our roads, our elderly, and our medical care, along with all our debt. But what about unemployment benefits. What about stimulative spending? What about DADT and the other must pass bills? How do we get there from here?