Bob Corker, compromise, Don't Ask Don't Tell, double dip recession, House Democrats, Lamar Alexander, Larry Summers, payroll tax holiday, President Obama, press conference, Social Security, Susan Collins, take it or leave it, Vice President Biden
The latest on “The Deal”:
President Obama at Tuesday’s press conference: [I]t’s a big, diverse country, and people have a lot of complicated positions, it means that in order to get stuff done we’re gonna compromise…This country was founded on compromise.”
“Vice President Biden told House Democrats on Wednesday that the tax agreement the White House struck with Republicans was essentially final, forcing the divided caucus to decide whether to press its fight for changes in the package. “It’s up or down,” Biden told the caucus in a closed-door meeting, according to Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.).
“So far as the administration is concerned, it’s take it or leave it,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), one of the most vocal critics of the tax deal, told The Hill after the meeting. “I would say [Biden] was pretty specific about that.”
“It’s fair to say that he said, ‘We’ve negotiated with the Republicans, but we’re not going to negotiate with the Democrats,” Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said in paraphrasing the vice president.
Larry Summers is saying, ‘One wrong move and the economy gets it.’
“One of President Obama’s top economic advisers warned on Wednesday that the nation could slip back into recession if Congress did not pass the administration’s tax cut deal with Republicans, as the White House sought to press Democrats into backing the plan.
“Failure to pass this bill in the next couple weeks would materially increase the risk that the economy would stall out and we would have a double-dip” recession, Mr. Summers told reporters at a briefing.”
“Maintaining tax cuts for top wage-earners should take a back seat to other more pressing measures, White House economic advisor Larry Summers said…”With deficits looming as seriously as they are, why is now the right moment to lock in several hundred billion dollars of tax cuts for 2 percent of the population when we could be using those revenues to strengthen incentives for investment in the country’s future?”
What a difference 3 months makes.
President Obama’s Republican “friends” are making clear their intentions on the so-called “temporary” reduction in Social Security payroll taxes:
“Republicans acknowledged that the expiration of the tax holiday will be treated as a tax increase. “Once something like this goes into place, a year from now, when it expires, it’ll be portrayed as a tax increase,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). So in a body like Congress, precedents matter and this is setting a precedent. I think that certainly is going to create some problems down the road if it passes.”
“Once you bring a rate down, if it goes back up, people will feel that. They’ll feel their paycheck being less and that argument” — that letting it expire amounts to a tax hike — “eventually is bound to be made,” said Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.).
Lamar Alexander, the Senate’s number-three Republican, also said that reform of Social Security should be tied to moving that tax rate back up. “My personal hope is that it doesn’t become permanent unless we deal with a way to make Social Security solvent over the long term,” he told HuffPost. “You have to remember, the payroll tax funds Social Security and I like the idea of a lower payroll tax contribution, but we’ve got to make sure Social Security is solvent, which we should be doing this next year as the first order of business.” The way to make the program “solvent” and keep taxes low, of course, is to reduce benefits.
On a related note, this is what happens when you go down the road of giving in to the demands of “hostage takers.” The line starts to form:
“Here’s what Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that she needs to support a full Senate debate on the defense authorization bill (the vehicle for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal): 15 guaranteed votes on amendments (10 for Republicans, and 5 for Democrats), and somewhere around four days to debate the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid already promised her the 15 amendments, but his initial offer was for a day or two of debate. Here’s her response to reporters tonight, after a Senate vote.
“The majority leader’s allotment of time for to debate those amendments was extremely short, so I have suggested doubling the amount of time, assuring that there would be votes, and making sure that the Republicans get to pick our own amendments as opposed to the Majority Leader.”
“If he does that I will do all that I can to help him proceed to the bill. But if he does not do that, then I will not,” she added.”