- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
- Activists vow to occupy fast-food restaurants to get higher pay
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Senate Dems wary of immigration politics
- Summer camp for 1 percenters: Sushi, limos and shopping at FAO Schwarz
- Colorado gun crackdown law found to be built on faulty data
- Hank Aaron steps to fundraising plate for Democrat Michelle Nunn
- ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same
- Impeach Obama, say 35 percent in new poll
- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
‘Fiscal cliff’ nudges deal-making talk
Leaders of both political parties stick to their guns
Question of the Day
House Speaker John A. Boehner offered the first olive branch Wednesday in what is expected to be a frenetic spate of postelection deal-making to avert the looming “fiscal cliff,” saying the GOP will let the government collect more tax revenue if President Obama will drop his plan to raise tax rates on the wealthy.
Voters on Tuesday re-elected Mr. Obama and expanded Democrats’ majority in the Senate, while keeping Republicans in charge of the House — albeit with fewer numbers.
With the needle tilting slightly but decidedly toward Democrats, Mr. Boehner’s overture sets the stage for the lame-duck session of Congress, which begins next week, and for the full 113th Congress, which opens in January.
“By working together and creating a fairer, simpler, cleaner tax code, we can give our country a stronger, healthier economy. A stronger economy means more revenue, which is what the president seeks,” the Republican speaker said.
A day after the election, leaders on all sides said the message they took from voters was that Congress and the White House must work together to find a solution to the tax increases and automatic spending cuts that are looming in early January.
“I know how to fight. I know how to dance. I don’t dance as well as I fight, but I’d much rather dance anytime,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who said he approached negotiations with an open mind and wouldn’t draw any lines in the sand.
Still, the outlines of stalemate were emerging.
Mr. Reid said he read Tuesday’s election as a mandate for raising taxes on the wealthy — something Mr. Obama ran on as a centerpiece of his campaign.
“Look at all the polling. The vast majority of the American people — rich, poor — everybody agrees that the rich — richest of the rich — have to help a little bit,” Mr. Reid said.
Mr. Boehner, though, said Republicans in the House won’t accept increases in tax rates. His own proposal relies on cutting out tax loopholes, which would bring in more revenue, then using that money to lower income tax rates for everyone. He argues that the resulting tax code would be better for economic growth, which he said would produce more money for the federal government in the long run.
Missing from the public conversation Wednesday was Mr. Obama, who is once again the key player in negotiations. He placed private calls to Mr. Reid and Mr. Boehner, as well as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in which he pleaded for a “balanced” approach to cutting the deficit.
But Mr. Obama did not make any public statements, instead leaving Vice President Joseph R. Biden to talk with reporters.
“On the issue of the tax issue, there was a clear, a clear sort of mandate about people coming much closer to our view about how to deal with tax policy,” he said, adding that he expects “some real soul searching” on the part of Republicans to decide where they are willing to cooperate.
Part of the problem is that the tools for cutting big deals in Congress have calcified in recent years, and would need to be restored. The Senate hasn’t passed a budget in three years, and House Republicans this year have run into trouble in trying to pass big legislation such as the farm bill. Each side seems to have concluded that dealing with the other is tantamount to political death.
Mr. Biden said one way to do “a little confidence building” between the two sides was to tackle something easier. He said that could come on corporate tax rates, which all sides agree are too high and riddled with exceptions.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at email@example.com.
- Lois Lerner emails reveal gaping open-records loophole
- Two-thirds of illegal immigrant children approved for asylum: report
- Top Justice official denies conspiring with IRS on tea party targeting
- Boehner: No bill on border surge
- Taking Obama to court a long shot but lawsuit not folly, Congress is told
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
- Crime-ridden U.S. cities differ on ways to fight gun violence
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq