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Tilting at Windmills

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November 1, 2010

THE COMING FIGHT OVER 'DECOUPLING' THE TAX CUTS.... No matter what happens tomorrow, policymakers will still have to resolve the lingering dispute over Bush-era tax rates. President Obama wants to make permanent the lower rates for families making less than $250,000 a year, while allowing Clinton-era rates to return for the wealthy. Republicans insist on keeping all of the Bush-era rates, and adding the cost (about $4 trillion) to the debt.

As you no doubt recall, Congress adjourned before reaching a conclusion. At this point, however, the White House has an idea about how to proceed, and as one senior Democratic aide told the Washington Post, "The concept of 'decoupling' is a hot topic right now."

With Republicans poised to gain ground in Tuesday's elections, the White House is losing hope that Congress will approve its plan to raise taxes on the nation's wealthiest families and is increasingly focusing on a new strategy that would preserve tax breaks for both the wealthy and the middle class.

According to people familiar with talks at the White House and among senior Democrats on Capitol Hill, breaking apart the Bush administration tax cuts is now being discussed as a more realistic goal. That strategy calls for permanent extension of cuts that benefit families earning less than $250,000 a year, and temporary extension of cuts on income above that amount.

The key is to "decouple" the rates for the middle class from the rates for the wealthy. President Obama, under this scenario, would essentially offer the deal -- Congress makes the lower rates for the vast majority of the country permanent, and he'll concede to a temporary extension of the breaks for the rich.

Republicans would accept such a bargain, right? Wrong. By all appearances, "decoupling" is the opposite of what the GOP wants -- the key to the Republican strategy is holding middle-class breaks hostage to get the lower rates for the wealthy. Under Obama's potential proposal, the benefits for the rich would be temporary, and when they would be due to expire, Republicans would be forced to fight for an unpopular tax-cut plan that primarily benefits millionaires and billionaires.

Worse, there's no guarantee the president wouldn't veto an extension in 2011 or 2012, even if the GOP could get it through Congress.

So, we'd start off with two opposites: one side wants Clinton-era rates for everyone in order to reduce the deficit, and the other side wants Bush-era rates for everyone, regardless of the deficit.

Obama offered a compromise: lower rates for the middle class, while allowing rates for the wealthy to expire on schedule, just as the GOP designed. Republicans said that compromise wasn't good enough.

So, Obama appears poised for another compromise: permanently lower rates for the middle class, an extension of lower rates for the rich. Republicans will almost certainly say that compromise isn't good enough, either.

When one side isn't willing to make concessions, good-faith negotiations are practically impossible.

Steve Benen 10:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (46)

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Comments

Steve, stop framing this the republican way. The middle tax cuts provide cuts to both the middle and upper brackets. The upper bracket cuts are EXTRA cuts for the rich, above what everyone else gets.

Posted by: royalblue_tom on November 1, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

" the White House is losing hope that Congress will approve its plan to raise taxes"

The White House does not need a plan to raise taxes and Congress does not have the power to prolong the Bush cuts. Those cuts automatically expire and if Congress passes any legislation which reinstates the cuts for upper brackets, Obama can veto it.

Posted by: skeptonomist on November 1, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Load of crap. Let them all expire.

Posted by: Jeff In Ohio on November 1, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

As I understand it, the tax rate decreases will automatically sunset if Congress does not act. So, the question will be whether the Democrats, if in fact they are back in the minority or with a very close majoritiy, will have the courage to oppose, including filibuster, the inevitable Republican move to extend/make permanent the cuts. Bets?

Posted by: Greg Worley on November 1, 2010 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Tax cuts on your first $250,000. Make the rbaggers vote against that.

Posted by: reduced on November 1, 2010 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Just let the tax cuts expire.

Posted by: Andrew on November 1, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

The fact is, if the Republicans manage to kill the ENTIRE tax cut by insisting on tax cuts for the wealthy, that's actually a good thing. In the long run, there is no way to maintain Bush era tax rates, even for the non-rich, without risking our ability to pay for essential services.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on November 1, 2010 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

This is the one issue where gridlock could possibly produce the best result. All of the Bush tax cuts should end. They never produced significant positive effects for the economy, they only were a political positive for any audience other than the wealthy is because most people have no idea what they're actually paying in taxes or what causes fluctuations from year to year. As with all Republican tax cuts, the purpose is to be able to trumpet "we cut taxes!" to people who won't catch on that they didn't significantly cut your taxes. This was only made more blatant by the "send a tax cut check" ploy when the bill was passed.

Cutting taxes to help the economy was a lie or an ideological delusion, and letting the cuts expire won't significantly hurt the economy, despite the well-entrenched "you can't raise taxes until the economy improves" conventional wisdom. (Since the first lesson was never learned, I doubt the second one will be, though; if the tax cuts expire, every dip in the economy will be blamed on that.)

Posted by: Redshift on November 1, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

The problem here is not the repubs but the dems that want to extend the tax cuts for everyone. Otherwise, forcing a confrontation on this is clearly a win for the progressive caucus and the president. Well all of those conservadems are about to lose anyway. I am having trouble seeing why it is not in the Dems best interest to force exactly the confrontation they want before the new session is seated. Of course it will be more difficult after, but if they lay the groundwork now, they can still get some political value from branding this as a giveaway to the wealthy. I have very little faith that they are capable of raising the game to that level but the strategy seems pretty obvious.

Posted by: brent on November 1, 2010 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

This second compromise is total horse shit. We're going to lose tomorrow precisely because of weak-kneed crap like this.

Obama and Dems needs to stop compromising and start leading. Unlike the assholes on the right, we have truth and reason on our side. God dammit, all of them they need to get your asses on television and the radio and get pissed. If idiots like Bachmann can influence voters with a sack full of lies and stupidity, then Dem politicians ought to be able to figure out how to influence with facts and logic.

Seriously, a little passion goes a long way.

Posted by: Chris on November 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

So, the question will be whether the Democrats, if in fact they are back in the minority or with a very close majoritiy, will have the courage to oppose, including filibuster, the inevitable Republican move to extend/make permanent the cuts. Bets?

Well the filibuster will not be relevant because all odds are that the Dems will still control the Senate. Its the house where the action will be taking place on this particular matter and there isn't much that Dems can do to obstruct the will of the majority there. Not to mention that, again, there will be a lot of Dems who want to extend all the cuts because they are craven morons.

The Senate, being the Senate and still in control of the Dems, will want to construct some sort of crappy compromise that takes the worst parts of whatever comes out of the Republican House bill. So, here we are.

Really, the only hope here is for Obama to put his veto power into use in a way that works politically but that will require confrontation which isn't really his strong suit. But circumstances may show us a different side of the man. I hope so.

Posted by: brent on November 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

DUH !!
WHY didn't Obama try to get the tax custs extended BEFORE the elections ?
Ther's no longer any issue:
Obama will cave
It's jsut a question of him finding a face saving cover for it
Change you can beleive in?

Posted by: frisco on November 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

WHY didn't Obama try to get the tax custs extended BEFORE the elections ?

He clearly did. He made it very clear that that was what he wanted. The progressive part of the Dem caucus also made it very clear that that was what they wanted.

The problem was the more conservative dems. It was clear that there were enough Democrats who would vote to extend the tax cuts for the rich that forcing a vote would actually be a political loser under the circumstances. As I said above, most of those dems are about to lose anyway so forcing the vote now might make more sense but its still tricky.

Posted by: brent on November 1, 2010 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Frisco hit the mark!

The Dems will capitulate and compromise, letting the Repugs' have their way, as always.

Their system of halving their values at every turn, every whine of the opposition, is just embarrassing.

Posted by: Al B Tross on November 1, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

1) Offer compromise that the GOP won't take.
2) Argue and bicker vociferously about the tax cuts for the next two months without coming to an agreement.
3) LET THE BUSH TAX DEFERRALS EXPIRE. (They were never tax cuts, just deferrals until a later date-the bill still needs to be paid.)
4) Propose a more targeted, less ambitious tax cut plan, centered around FICA rates. Make sure the tax cut goes to the lower and middle class. Yes, I'm proposing class warfare, so sue me.

Posted by: danimal on November 1, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, Chris. Nice language. It really helps to get your message across and take you seriously.

Posted by: KJ Meyer on November 1, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

At this point Democrats are better off letting them all expire and then blame Republicans for it. Any extension of the cuts for the uber wealthy will never get repealed and will be an election issue for many elections to come.

Suck it up. Veto what ever crap sandwich Republicans serve up and fight. This comity thing isn't comity if only one side is expected to compromise.

Posted by: kindness on November 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

1) "Temporary" my ass.
2) How holding middle class tax cuts hostage against the extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest was not a bigger deal before Congress left for recess, and was not a HUUUUUUGE deal during the campaign (in fact, it was a complete non-issue), is another one of those Democratic mysteries that people with ideologies leaning towards the left will forever be forced to choke on.
3) Let's say the likely outcome is the GOP continues to hold the middle class cuts against an extension of the "wealthy cuts", dem Dems somehow discover cohesiveness and try to fight the GOP approach, and both Bush era tax cuts expire. The Democrats will take the hit for "raising taxes" and the GOP will get even more traction from the "outrage".
4) Now let's say the actual likely outcome will be that all of the Bush era tax cuts will be extended permanently, whatever that means, with substantial help from the Democrats and with very little debate.

Posted by: Perspecticus on November 1, 2010 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

This issue is likely to set the tone for the next two years. Will the Democrats stay true to their professed principles and stand firm against the Republicans? Or will they revert to when Bush was president and they blustered for a while before capitulating on every issue?

Sadly, there's no reason to believe that Democrats suddenly will grow a collective spine.

Posted by: SteveT on November 1, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Just pass the extension of the tax cuts under $250K and be done with it. As it will reduce the deficit, the Dems can utilize RECONCILIATION and only need 50 votes in the Senate.

The American RightWing will be reduced to screaming for tax cuts for the Rich which the American people don’t want.

Posted by: Joe Friday on November 1, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

I too believe strongly that the best policy is to let all of Dumbya's tax cuts expire. Indeed, I would raise rates for all and get some of the working poor to put some skin in the game and then maybe they would pay attention and vote. That being said, we have to look at the politics from Obama's standpoint. I think he lays down the marker that we have to get a handle on the deficit and the debt. Unless we withdraw our forces from Afgahnistan and accelerate the withdrawal from Iraq and cancel a bunch of expensive weapons programs, there are simply not enough places to cut spending to make a dent--even if the Catfood Commission jerks around social security, it will not have any appreciable effect on either the deficit or the debt--unless Congress simply ends social security and defaults on the special treasuries. That means taxes have to increase and while Obama is willing to compromise and let those making less than $200K hold on to their tax cuts--and providing those making over $200k a break on the first $200K, it would be irresponsible for Obama not to veto any legislation that extends Dumbya's tax cuts for the wealthy. Accordingly he should announce that he will veto any such legislation and if Congress fails to pass anything without the extension for the wealthy it is Congress' fault, not Obama's. The Dems are going to lose control of the House anyway so there is hardly a problem after the election with throwing Congress under the bus, we get good policy and Obama does not hurt his re-election prospects. Everyone wins except the Teapartiers. By the way, if that happens my personal taxes go up a lot, but hey if it improves the future of my country so be it.

Posted by: Terry on November 1, 2010 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Just pass the extension of the tax cuts under $250K and be done with it.

That is also what I am suggesting but it bears repeating that it is the Blue Dog caucus that is making this maneuver difficult and it won't be any easier after the election.

As it will reduce the deficit, the Dems can utilize RECONCILIATION and only need 50 votes in the Senate.

Au contraire. It will raise the deficit by quite a bit. More than 3 Trillion dollars in fact. Reconciliation is not an option.

Posted by: brent on November 1, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure Pussytoes will cave on this one, as well.

Andrew Jackson would have told them all to go to Hell. But we don't make Democrats like that anymore.

Posted by: Steve on November 1, 2010 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

The real problem is that Mmany fear a Palin Presidency but too few fear a BHO candidacy in 2012-- or grasp that he has been a disaster that will keep on giving. Just as the GWB presidency was a disaster that kept on giving and whose capital BHO receioved and then managed to completely squander-- within months. So would a Palin Presidency (or equivalent Repub of which there are many to pick)be a diister that would give to Dems in 2016.. Maybe it's like Churchill said: The US always does the right thing -- after it tries everything else first.

So what’s the plan for Dems in the future to pass stimulus bills, end (in BHO's terminology) stupid foreign wars you can’t win (in Eisenhower's terminology), pass real health reform, pass real financial reform?? Whatever it is, it better start with ending the filibuster.

There is no good or sure plan in 2010--- any more than absolute opposition to BHO was a sure plan in 3/09. [BHO's political stupidity made it a good plan-- and will continue to make intransigent opposition a good plan] Whatever plan you have for Dem recovery--- it better include getting rid (politically) of BHO, Reid, 5-8 other timid Blue Dog Senators, and 30-50 Blue Dog House members. The Repubs are about to take some giant steps to solve that problem for Dems.

After Tuesday, the next step is how to retire BHO?? Because BHO's lack of political skills and political philosophy once in office is really the root of the problem. And it won't go away. So far, not enough Dems are openly aware that (say) Franken (or some governor yet unnamed) vs Palin compared to BHO vs Palin is really a better choice for Dems in 2012 --- no matter who wins either of those hypothetical races in 2012. If a real Dem wins in 2012-- great. If BHO wins-- THAT is a second term term catastrophy and a long-term disaster. The real hope is that whoever wins in 2016 is a rejection of the political philosophies (such as they are) and political styles of both BHO and Palin.

Posted by: gdb on November 1, 2010 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Here is what I believe. I believe that there are some reasonably intelligent, reasonably moral aides and advisors within the White House who made a legitimate push to "decouple" the tax cuts. However, they were ignored by the President and his senior staff.

A moron could figure out that it would have been a winning electoral strategy to pass the bill, pre-election. It would have forced the GOP to either vote against a tax cut or to vote to decouple the tax cuts.

In short, we didn't get the vote because senior Democrats, including the President, did not support the policy. Breaking News! Politicians lie.

Posted by: square1 on November 1, 2010 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

brent,

That is also what I am suggesting but it bears repeating that it is the Blue Dog caucus that is making this maneuver difficult and it won't be any easier after the election.

Their choice will be to vote for legislation that cuts taxes and reduces the deficit or against it.


Au contraire. It will raise the deficit by quite a bit. More than 3 Trillion dollars in fact. Reconciliation is not an option.

Sure it is.

The legislation would reduce the deficit by about a trillion dollars by eliminating the tax cuts above $250K.

The comparison is to current law. If they wait until after Jan 1st, that's another ball game.

Posted by: Joe Friday on November 1, 2010 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Their choice will be to vote for legislation that cuts taxes and reduces the deficit or against it.

No. Their choice will be effected by the amendments to the bill which will assuredly include an extension of the tax cuts for the rich. This would not ordinarily be a problem except for the fact that there enough Democrats who will vote along with Republicans to approve such an amendment to the bill. That is the whole problem. A block of Democrats have made it clear that they will vote along with the Republicans on such an amendment and it is close enough that the progressive caucus does not wish to chance it.

The comparison is to current law. If they wait until after Jan 1st, that's another ball game.

Sorry this is not correct. Current law includes the expiration of the tax cuts and that will be true before or after the election. Thus, any law that includes any tax cuts will expand the deficit compared to current law. In order to argue that it reduces the deficit, you are arguing to compare it against a law in which tax cuts are, in fact, extended to everyone past January 2011. That law does not exist. Reconciliation does not come into play.

Posted by: brent on November 1, 2010 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama were to grow a pair he could get what he wants with a threatened veto. Will he? Not a chance in hell. He is afraid to stand up for America. He would rather "comrpomise" with himeself than do anything positive for the rest of us.

I personally am in favor of Hillary Clinton for 2012. We need a president with balls.

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 1, 2010 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems should have had the vote on taxes before the election (but they still can, if ballsy enough, in the lame-duck.) If Repubs win the House (and if the polls missed lots of cellers, that could be stopped) then Obama will have to sign or not *their* bills! So what's with "just extend cuts for ..." stuff? Repubs will offer Obama an extension of all the tax cuts - with all of them expiring as the alternative - and dare him to veto that! If he does, the voters will blame him for "letting our rates go up"! Don't you get that? I don't know what the best thing is, except ram through some partial extension in the LD and maybe fiddles (raise cap gains, as they should, and not the regular rates at all?), lift FICA cap, transaction tax, and all the adjustments Democrats have no excuse for not already doing earlier.

And Steve: indeed, you already wrote a piece about how even with the current top *bracket* cut expiring, the high-earners still get a tax cut around 6k due to the reduced rate on the lower brackets! This should be trumpeted everywhere!

Last and most:
GET.OUT.THE.DAMN.VOTE!

Posted by: Neil B on November 1, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Joe Friday. The cuts are expiring. Any continuation of the cuts increases the deficit; therefore reconciliation is not available.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on November 1, 2010 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

About this reconciliation mess, which seems to turn on legalistic technicalities: If the partial increase were passed before the actual expiration date, would it legally count as "decreasing the deficit" relative to the current law (JF said "if they wait until after Jan 1st, that's another ball game") and thus technically - even if absurdly from a practical standpoint - count as reconcilable?

Or, would it not (since the cuts would expire for the next tax year aside from date of passage?) There should be a clear answer and I expect Joe Friday is wrong, but seek expertise.

GET.OUT.THE.DAMN.VOTE!

Posted by: neil b. on November 1, 2010 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

brent,

Their choice will be effected by the amendments to the bill…

No amendments under reconciliation.


Reconciliation does not come into play.

I take it you’re not familiar with the legislative process in Congress ?

Posted by: Joe Friday on November 1, 2010 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

About this reconciliation mess, which seems to turn on legalistic technicalities: If the partial increase were passed before the actual expiration date, would it legally count as "decreasing the deficit" relative to the current law (JF said "if they wait until after Jan 1st, that's another ball game") and thus technically - even if absurdly from a practical standpoint - count as reconcilable?

You're overthinking this. Right now, the law says that on January 1st 2011, the tax rate will be at a certain level - lets say 10. They are not repealing current law, which would obviously be but passing a new one that will take effect after the current law expires. So if that new law sets the tax rate at say 8, then it will increase the deficit. The way that Reconciliation actually works is to compare against a 10 year time horizon anyway but getting into that needlessly complicates the issue. Passing a tax cut - any tax cut - increases the deficit and so cannot be voted on under reconciliation rules.

Really, the only question here is, will enough Dems in the Senate be willing to vote with Republicans on an amendment to any bill that is proposed that will extend the cuts to the wealthiest. Right now, and immediately after the election, the answer is probably no. After the election, the Republicans might only need 3-4 Dem Senators to get their version of the bill through and I suspect they can find them. Lieberman and Nelson are probably foregone conclusions in that regard. Thus, really the only way those tax cuts don't get extended is if Obama vetos and he will only do that if he can somehow make it a winner politically. Hard to do.

Posted by: brent on November 1, 2010 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

I take it you’re not familiar with the legislative process in Congress ?

I, and others, have already explained to you in multiple ways why you are wrong on this. It really isn't a controversial point. It is your understanding of the process that is lacking here.

Posted by: brent on November 1, 2010 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, that’s what folks said about the House voting that legislation had been deemed to have passed without actually being voted upon.

Posted by: Joe Friday on November 1, 2010 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, that’s what folks said about the House voting that legislation had been deemed to have passed without actually being voted upon.

Not sure what you mean. "Deem and pass," as I understand it, is when the House votes for the passage of an upcoming vote indirectly when voting directly on the rules for that vote. So, it is written into the vote on the rules for Bill X that if we approve those rules, then Bill X will be considered passed even if we don't actually vote on the bill. During the health care debate, it was discussed as a way to avoid directly voting on the health care bill that came back from the Senate. How do you mean to apply it here?

Posted by: brent on November 1, 2010 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Please, God, give President Obama the cojones to veto any bill extending the tax cuts for the rich, even if he has to let taxes rise for the rest of us.

It's not like we were being taxed to death before Bush the Lesser.

Heck, without any income any more, there is no fear of income TAX.

Posted by: Mouse Brain on November 1, 2010 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm for letting them all expire. The deficit will be far less of an issue with the revenue suddenly enhanced.

Posted by: jjm on November 1, 2010 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

The deficit will be far less of an issue with the revenue suddenly enhanced.

Gotta disagree with that because it assumes that the deficit is actually something conservatives take seriously rather than just a rallying point for the rubes. If we somehow managed to cut the deficit in half, their arguments wouldn't change or have any effect on their base. The truth is that the deficit isn't an especially meaningful pocketbook issue for them anyway and it wouldn't be even if it were much larger. Its just a way for them to punch hippies while appearing to do so for serious fiscal concerns.

Posted by: brent on November 1, 2010 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Should the GOP obstruct the current proposed extensions, my strategy would be to LET ALL THE TAX CUTS EXPIRE PURSUANT TO THE GOP'S ORIGINAL PLAN. Make them own it.

Dems should then propose their own tax cut plan for those earning less than $250K. Make the GOP run against middle class tax cuts and defend tax cuts for the wealthy.

Dems have really screwed up by letting the GOP transfer blame for "raising taxes," when letting them expire adheres to the repubs original intentions.

Posted by: bdop4 on November 1, 2010 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

brent,

Not sure what you mean.

A) That there are numerous legislative gymnastics that can and have been utilized, not to mention creative drafting of legislation is not new.

B) Even if we accepted your perspective (which is false), you seem to have forgotten that Chimpy Bush and Republican Congressional majority enacted tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate which MASSIVELY increased the federal budget deficits utilizing reconciliation.

Posted by: Joe Friday on November 1, 2010 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK


That there are numerous legislative gymnastics that can and have been utilized, not to mention creative drafting of legislation is not new.

This is a vague and essentially useless point. You haven't proposed "legislative gymnastics." You have proposed reconciliation and as it has been pointed out to you several times that your understanding of how the Byrd Rule works in reconciliation is entirely incorrect, you have merely repeated your incorrect understanding as if that will somehow change the facts or make it correct. This is an effective approach among Republicans many times but not so much here.

Even if we accepted your perspective (which is false), you seem to have forgotten that Chimpy Bush and Republican Congressional majority enacted tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate which MASSIVELY increased the federal budget deficits utilizing reconciliation.

By my "perspective" I assume you mean my basic statement of the facts of reconciliation and budget rules, the uncontroversial truth of which you now seem determined to dispute by mere assertion. Good luck with that.

As for Bush passing his reconciliation bills while increasing the deficit, you cannot have failed to notice that that is exactly why we are having this discussion in the first place. Bush's tax cuts were passed via reconciliation after overcoming two obstacles:

1) The cuts had to expire after 10 years to even come close to passing muster under the rules. So they were sunsetted and we are discussing the result of that sunsetting right now.

2) Even with the inclusion of this provision, the Parlimentarian did not agree that the bill fit under the definition of reconciliation so Trent Lott fired him.

But no matter what, the bill still had to, at least notionally, fit within the definition that it would not change the deficit after its time had expired, which under the Byrd Rule could not be more than 10 years. It was clearly designed to skirt the rules of reconciliation but even then, it had to acknowledge that those rules existed.

So precisely because of the way this law was constructed, any new law, especially one which establishes a permanent cut of any type as is proposed here, would not get over even that low bar and would therefore violate the Byrd Rule directly, no matter how creatively the bill was constructed.

Now, what you are really proposing is to simply pass a bill by a majority vote and call it "reconciliation," despite the fact that it clearly doesn't fit under those rules, in order to avoid amendments. If that is your proposal, and I don't see how it could be otherwise, then all of this discussion about whether it lowers the deficit or not is irrelevant. If you are going to ignore some rules, why not just simply ignore all of them if it makes things easier?

Posted by: brent on November 1, 2010 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

You’re making MY point.

Even accepting your false premise, the Republicans STILL did it utilizing reconciliation.

Therefore, OF COURSE it can be done utilizing reconciliation, it just doesn’t have to been done the way the Republicans did it.

Posted by: Joe Friday on November 1, 2010 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Even accepting your false premise, the Republicans STILL did it utilizing reconciliation.

Okay. So Republicans once did something with reconciliation therefore anything is possible with reconciliation, even stuff that directly violates the rules of reconciliation. This is, I think most reasonable people would agree, complete nonsense, but more importantly for this discussion, it renders your original point moot. You said that reconciliation was possible because the bill would lower the deficit. Aside from the fact that this is entirely wrong no matter how one looks at it, now what you are saying is that reconciliation is possible irrespective of this issue. The Democrats just have to want it enough.

Excellent thinking!

You should send them your suggestion. I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.

Posted by: brent on November 1, 2010 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

I see.

It’s “nonsense” that the Republicans DID exactly what you had claimed could NOT be done.

Sure.

Posted by: Joe Friday on November 1, 2010 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Glaring misstatement in article: Obama is only questioning $700 Billion in additional borrowing as a massive tax break for over $250,000 income.
The Republicans and Obama are IN AGREEMENT on $3.2 Trilion in tax breaks for everyone else, using borrowed money.
Borrowing $3.2 Trillion and $700 Billion AND huge amounts of interest just for politically expedient tax breaks is just repugnant.
6 year old kids should be allowed to vote, they will be paying it back.

Posted by: MacGruber on November 2, 2010 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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