Leaving Us Hanging

January 1st, 2013

A follow-up to Cliffhanger, inspired by the apparent impending collapse of the fiscal cliff deal, and my idea to stop that from happening (click here to skip the poetic satire and go right to the idea).

 

 

“Long live the King.” – Eric Cantor to Speaker Boehner (paraphrased)

 

We’re over the cliff, barely holding on,

And our foregone conclusion is no longer foregone.

Inspired by his fellow Teabaggers’ anti-tax zeal,

Eric Cantor is crushing our fingers with his heel.

 

He’s digging his claws into our (and his rival’s) hands,

Scotching the Senate deal with his demands.

Will America be able to hold on much longer?

Will Speaker Boehner prove to be stronger?

 

The Houses “leadership’s” apparent solution

To avoid a Tea Party Caucus revolution

Is to “craft an amendment” to the Senate Bill,

Which is almost certain, the deal to kill.

 

Even some of those Teabagger Repubs must understand

That everyone’s taxes go up if the Senate deal is panned.

Still, they seem to feel obliged to stake out their position

In the mystical belief that Cantor is a magician.

 

Here’s my idea to give Republicans what they think they need

And allow the Senate bill to proceed.

***

Here’s MSNBC’s breaking news report about Eric Cantor’s announcement that he would oppose the Senate bill to resolve the fiscal cliff, and report that House leadership (an oxymoron if ever there was one) is apparently now discussing a amendment to the Senate Bill.

 

Oh, sorry, I guess I mixed those videos up. That was the cliff scene from The Lion King. Here’s the MSNBC report. And BTW: Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, the rest of the GOP, and the American people are all getting thrown off the cliff by Eric Cantor too, but the most obvious political rationale seems to be a possible move by Cantor to take Boehner’s place as Speaker. “Long live the King” indeed.

 

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And here’s my idea. 

An amendment to the Senate bill risks unraveling the entire deal. Senate Dems are unlikely to accept it any substantive amendment (both on the merits, and because they are not going to want to give in to House GOP blackmail). Even if they did, or if the amendment is a minor one, that amendment would probably at the least gum up the works enough to (1) cause a stock market crash when the markets open tomorrow morning, (2) really piss taxpayers/voters off, (3) delay an agreement for days, or even until the new Congress comes in since the Senate is no longer in session , (4) force the whole negotiation to start all over, and (5) maybe even cause taxes to go up and stay up, if the two sides can not get back on track.

Here’s how to keep that from happening. Instead of an amendment to the Senate bill, the House could bring the amendment to the floor as a separate bill, saying whatever they want (spending is cut 90%, Obamacare is repealed, the budget must be balanced, Social Security and Medicare are privatized, etc.). The bills would be brought to the floor simultaneously, but voted on separately. Most Dems and enough Repubs would vote for the Senate compromise bill to allow it to pass. All House Repubs (and no Dems) could then cast their vote for the companion bill. They could then explain to their constituents that they did that so as to vote against the lack of spending cuts without risking that taxes would go up on everyone anyway. Even the hardiest and most ignorant Teabagger should understand and agree with that.

Of course, if Boehner is able to cleanly defeat or squelch the amendment instead, that would be better. But if not, the companion-bill option solves the problem.

 

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