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Inside the Beltway: Boehner = Pelosi

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 19, 2012

House Speaker John A. Boehner now resembles one iconic Democrat according to a fierce coalition of 25 prominent conservatives who don't much sympathize with the lawmaker who's tasked with taming the "fiscal cliff," appeasing the White House and maintaining integrity. The group has advice for the Grand Old Party.

"No more taxes. As leaders of broad based American citizen groups, we call upon Republican House members to vote no on Speaker Boehner's tax hike known as 'Plan B.' This tax increase bill is just like the tax increase proposal Nancy Pelosi offered last year on May 23rd. Speaker Boehner, President Obama, Rep. Pelosi and too many members of the Republican conference have forgotten that the problem in Washington is too much spending and not too little taxation."

"When the American people voted to return the Republican majority in the House last month we sent you to cut spending. Instead, you are now voting on the Pelosi plan to increase taxes next year. We urge members of the House to vote no on the procedural rule to stop the Pelosi/Boehner tax plan from coming to the House floor for a vote."

And so reads the public letter to Republicans, signed by, among others, Edwin Meese, Erick Erickson, J. Kenneth Blackwell, Tony Perkins, David Bossie, Alfred Regnery, Morton Blackwell, Richard Viguerie, David Denholm and Gary Bauer.

GOING TO PLAN B

Side with the Speaker? Well, it's all right. Kind of. It's understandable. Sort of. And so says Americans for Tax Reform. The group's carefully worded public advice to the GOP comes with this disclaimer: "Despite inaccurate press reports, the statement is not to be misconstrued as an endorsement of any legislation."

No, of course not.

"This legislation — popularly known as 'Plan B' — permanently prevents a tax increase on families making less than $1 million per year. Republicans supporting this bill are this week affirming to their constituents in writing that this bill — the sole purpose of which is to prevent tax increases — is consistent with the pledge they made to them. In ATR's analysis, it is extremely difficult — if not impossible — to fault these Republicans' assertion," the group states.

"In particular, in this Congress the House has already voted twice to prevent any tax increases on any American. When viewed with this in mind, and considering this tax bill contains no tax increases of any kind — in fact, it permanently prevents them — matters become more clear. Having finally seen actual legislation in writing, ATR is now able to make its determination about a legislative proposal related to the fiscal cliff. ATR will not consider a vote for this measure a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge."

UNCORKED

"It was time to put our classic wine in a beautiful new bottle."

- (Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose, on why the publication has unveiled the first photographic cover in its 90-year history.)

2,507,439,387 PARTRIDGES

Anxious to demonstrate just how much cash is involved with the fiscal cliff, one patient man with a good calculator has morphed "The Twelve Days of Christmas" with the aforementioned cliff to show how many seasonal goodies the cliff could buy, what with its potential $514 billion tax increase.

The numbers are based on PNC Wealth Management's Christmas Price Index, which this year places the cost of the tune's 364 items at $107,300. Here's what the fiscal cliff could buy at the current rates, explains Andrew Lundeen, a blogger with the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group:

2,507,439, 387 partridges in pear trees; 8.2 billion turtle doves; 9,345,454,545 French hens; 3,954,150,319 calling birds; 3.4 billion gold rings; 14.7 billion geese-a-laying; 514 million swans-a-swimming; 70.9 billion maids-a-milking; 735 million ladies dancing; 1,078,246,276 lords-a-leaping; 2.2 billion pipers piping and 2,221,902,017 drummers drumming.

NOW HEAR THIS

Tantaros-Mattera: It has a certain snappy ring to it. And soon, there will be a nationwide signal behind this political pairing. Talk Radio Network Entertainment will launch "The Andrea Tantaros Show With Jason Mattera" on Jan. 2, likely to propel the "he said, she said" talk radio format to new heights.

Ms. Tantaros is the political commentator, syndicated columnist and brilliant/beautiful co-host of Fox News Channel's "The Five." Mr. Mattera is the best-selling author, former Human Events editor and brilliant/handsome host of his own weekend show on New York's WABC.

The dynamic, possibly dueling duo will join forces daily from 9 a.m. to noon to chat up "smart, edgy, and funny but responsible commentary on politics, pop culture, Wall Street and entertainment," the producers note.

"I promise you this: It's going to be fun," observes Ms. Tantaros.

POLL DU JOUR

• 53 percent of Americans say increasing police presence at schools would be very effective at preventing mass shootings; 55 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

• 50 percent say increasing government spending on mental health would be very effective; 35 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats agree.

• 42 percent say banning assault weapons and semi-automatic guns would be very effective; 26 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats agree.

• 47 percent say decreasing violence in movies and video games would be very effective; 55 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats agree.

• 34 percent say arming at least one school official would be very effective; 49 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,009 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 18.

Hubbub and ballyhoo to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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