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Monday, December 31, 2012

Will House Tea Party whackjobs throw US over fiscal cliff?


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden engaged in furious overnight negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff and made major progress toward a year-end tax deal, giving sudden hope to high-stakes talks that had been on the brink of collapse, according to sources familiar with the discussion.

McConnell and Biden, who served in the Senate together for 23 years, are closing in on an agreement that would hike tax rates for families who earn more than $450,000, and individuals who make more than $400,000, according to sources familiar with talks. That would mark significant concessions for both men, particularly for McConnell. President Barack Obama campaigned on raising taxes for families who make more than $250,000, but McConnell has long been dead-set against any tax increases, warning they would jeopardize the economy.

However, there has been no agreement over “turning off” the sequester, tens of billions of dollars in spending cuts that will hit the Pentagon and other federal agencies beginning on Jan. 2, the sources said.

The last-ditch horse-trading underscored the urgency of the situation because if no deal is reached, every income group will be hit with a tax hike starting Tuesday.

There are a lot of problems here — maybe enough that the optimistic headline Politico gives the piece isn’t all that warranted. Most notable of these is a ward of the Washington Home for the Mentally Helpless, Perpetually Confused, and Eternally Deluded called the US House of Representatives:

Sources close to the talks said a deal is now more likely to come together but cautioned that obstacles remain, including how Speaker John Boehner and House Republican leaders react to any tentative agreement. Boehner has vowed to bring any bill the Senate passes to the House floor, but House Republicans could amend the package, which would throw any agreement into flux.

They’re not going to want to pass a clean bill and the nuts will want to tack on some crazy shit about Sharia law, some UN conspiracy theory, a provision redefining rape as “pro-active blind dating,” and/or handing out machine guns to kindergarten students, along with some of Paul Ryan’s consumer-demand-attacking economic hoodoo. It’ll be up to Boehner to do some serious whip cracking among those he had previously been taking orders from. This is something he really sucks at, so don’t get too excited.

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