Fiscal Cliff Deal After Christmas?
Just because “Plan B” is no longer under consideration, it doesn’t mean a fiscal cliff deal is off the table. In fact, some suggest that “Plan B” was being used as a negotiation tactic and a deal will be coming after Christmas.
Chris Frates of National Journal opines:
But behind the rhetoric there was a strategy at play. The plan appeared designed to move Obama toward the speaker’s position of smaller tax increases and larger spending cuts while helping conservatives wrap their heads around the idea of voting for a tax hike.
This analysis is certainly plausible, and the idea that “Plan B” was designed to help “conservatives wrap their heads around the idea of voting for a tax hike” is something we talked about at length yesterday. But regardless of the political calculations that were at play here, we can’t help but be reminded of that good old quote: “Sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple.”
In this case, the simple answer is that we must cut spending without raising taxes. Politics and passions can lead us astray, but principles are enduring and should not be brushed aside for the sake of political expediency. Indeed, Republicans in Congress acted on conservative principles in August, and Heritage has been offering myriad solutions to avert the situation in which we now find ourselves.
In light of the House’s decision to recess without considering “Plan B,” our CEO Mike Needham stated:
In August, the House passed H.R.8 with bipartisan support. It would have prevented a tax hike on hardworking Americans who are struggling under the weight of President Obama’s economy. For nearly five months, Harry Reid’s Senate has sat idle. If we are to avert the fiscal cliff, it is incumbent the Senate put forth a bill that can garner the 60 votes necessary.
With H.R.8 and the House-passed budget, House Republicans have demonstrated a seriousness of purpose. It is time Harry Reid and Barack Obama reject the political gimmicks and demonstrate that same level of seriousness.
Similarly, today Heritage called out President Obama and the Senate for failing to act on behalf of the American people in a responsible manner, despite the House passage of H.R. 8. They give us the state of play:
Now there are just 11 days left before Americans face a massive slate of tax hikes and reckless defense cuts. The fiscal cliff will affect all American taxpayers, with an average increase of more than $4,100 in taxes.
And instead of offering real solutions:
Obama initially wanted an $800 billion tax increase, only to later double that demand to $1.5 trillion. His plan lacks any substantive spending cuts, insisting on tax hikes first. And to top it off, the more concessions Republicans have made, the more Obama wants to take from the American people.
Yet, again, this is not how the story has to end. While the remaining option is not optimal, it is “the best possible outcome in this unfortunate situation”:
Conservatives stood their ground last night and sent a powerful message. Now it’s time for lawmakers to take the “least repugnant remaining resolution to the fiscal cliff,” as Heritage’s J.D. Foster wrote earlier this week, and pass a temporary measure that extends all tax rates and all spending policy without sequestration cuts through March 31, 2013.
First and foremost, lawmakers must remember: cut spending, don’t increase taxes.