Late compromise in fiscal cliff saga | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Late compromise in fiscal cliff saga

Posted: January 1, 2013 - 9:53pm

An 11th hour compromise, engineered by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, gained the support of most members of the Senate. At 2 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1, 89 senators voted in favor of the compromise with eight voting nay.

Senators voting against the measure: Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.); Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.); Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa); Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah); Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.); Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.); Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.); and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

What did the plan offer? More taxes on those Americans earning $400,000 or more and couples are allowed to earn up to $450,000. In addition, tax credits and deductions would begin phasing out on incomes as low as $250,000.

It seems as though the Senate plan will curtail the $110 billion across-the-board cuts in military and domestic spending — for two months. (Two months is what has become known as kicking the can down the road.)

With the lack of a plan signed off on by either house when the clock struck midnight, the celebration of the new year, 2013, looked a lot like 2012 when the Senate bill was passed along to the House of Representatives. It seems as though House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and a host of other House members are balking at the measure because it raises taxes but has no spending cuts that will curtail deficit spending over the next decade.

House members were bolstered in their opinion of the Senate bill when the Congressional Budget Office said: “... the accord would add $4 trillion to the deficit over a decade.” Adding $4 trillion to the current $16.4 trillion debt would be catastrophic and put the U.S. in a similar position to European nations facing huge national debt with no way of whittling the size of that debt to a manageable level.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) has to find a way to get 217 votes for the altered package — and then hope the Senate goes along. Senate sources are warning that the upper chamber will not take up a House-amended bill.

Sounds a lot like 2012 fiscal hill rhetoric to me.

Keith Hansen