Last Updated:September 22 @ 07:55 am

Blame is bandied about for lack of 'fiscal cliff' deal

By GOPUSA Staff

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

USA Today - Congress is down to the last day -- with no "fiscal cliff" plan to vote on, at least not yet.

Senators failed Sunday to come up with a bipartisan proposal to head off a series of tax hikes and spending cuts set to start taking effect Tuesday. The White House served notice it may push its own plan and dare Republicans to oppose it.

"Republicans will have to decide if they're going to block it, which will mean that middle-class taxes do go up," Obama said on NBC's Meet The Press.

Optimism rose and fell throughout the day as officials from Capitol Hill to the White House dickered over budget details, worked the phones, spoke with reporters -- and generally blamed each other for the impasse over a deal to avert higher taxes on all Americans, massive cuts to major programs and a possible recession as a result.

"Something has gone terribly wrong when the biggest threat to our American economy is the American Congress," said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

The day began with the Meet the Press interview in which Obama said he remains hopeful of a deal, but he made it clear he would hold Republicans responsible if the nation goes over the fiscal cliff.

"The way they're behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected," Obama said.

If necessary, Obama said, he would push for a vote on a pared-down plan that includes a renewal of unemployment insurance and an extension of the George W. Bush tax cuts for Americans who make less than $250,000 a year.

All the Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who spoke with Obama by phone during the day, said he may put such a plan on the floor when the Senate reconvenes Monday.

"If Republicans don't like it, they can vote no," Obama said.

Republicans pointed the finger right back at Obama.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Obama has always emphasized tax hikes ahead of spending cuts, especially when it comes to the fast-rising entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare.

"Americans elected President Obama to lead, not cast blame," Boehner said in a statement.

Republicans say they want to make sure a debt-reduction agreement doesn't include tax hikes that would hurt the economy. Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that while Obama was making his "discordant remarks" during a Saturday taping, "Sen. McConnell was in the office working to bring Republicans and Democrats together on a solution."

On the Senate floor, McConnell said he called Vice President Biden "to see if he could help jump-start negotiations on his side."

The Republican leader noted that he and Biden have worked well together during previous budget battles.

The White House did not comment on the McConnell-Biden connection, and the vice president did not travel to Capitol Hill.

As the evening approached and temperatures fell, so did optimism for a deal. As Reid adjourned the Senate early Sunday evening, he said, "We are apart on some pretty big issues."

During the negotiations, McConnell said, "I'm concerned with the lack of urgency here. There's far too much at stake.

"There is no single issue that remains an impossible sticking point," he said. "The sticking point appears to be a willingness, an interest or courage to close the deal."

Once again, the conflict between the Democratic president and the Republican-led House of Representatives has shadowed a budget dispute. It happened during the near-shutdown of the federal government in spring 2011. It happened again that same year when the federal government nearly defaulted during a dispute over the debt ceiling.

As in those previous disputes, the fiscal cliff talks revolve around taxes and spending cuts that could help reduce a federal debt that exceeds $16 trillion.

Obama and the Democrats have emphasized higher tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. Republicans have balked at tax hikes and emphasize spending cuts instead.

Despite their opposition, Republicans pretty much expect that taxes on wealthier Americans are going to rise.

"The president won. The president campaigned on raising rates, and he's going to get a rate increase," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told ABC.

"This deal won't affect the debt situation," Graham said.

In his NBC interview, taped Saturday, Obama said he has offered Republicans a concession that would reduce Social Security spending by changing the way cost-of-living increases are calculated.

Obama's aides proposed an agreement that would reduce the deficit by $2.4 trillion over 10 years, about half in spending cuts.

"The offers that I've made to them have been so fair that a lot of Democrats get mad at me," Obama said.

Managing the fiscal cliff is essential to improving the economy, the president said. The nation is poised to improve economic growth in 2013, he said, "but what's been holding us back is the dysfunction here in Washington."

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said, "We're stuck because many in Congress want to move toward Clinton-era tax rates but not Clinton-era spending."

The president did not make a public appearance Sunday, instead monitoring events from inside the White House.

He did sign one bill: a five-year extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

---

(c) Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

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23 Comments

  1. Ollie_FanComment by Ollie_Fan
    December 31, 2012 @ 9:50 am

    On everything else that Congress fails to agree upon, Obama just creates an executive order to get what he desires. So why doesn’t he do it here? Because he’s gutless and knows what the outcome will be and may have to take responsibility for a possible economic collapse.
    Gutless coward doesn’t have the faith in his own ideals to push them through and will vote present again whilst blaming the equally gutless Republicans with assistance from the 1984-ish national media.
    Is this what America has become because it resembles Euro politics which makes me absolutely sick.

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    • Blu OwenComment by Blu Owen
      December 31, 2012 @ 11:16 am

      The real problem is the log jam created by the Senate Majority leader. The House has followed their Constitutional duty and presented several revenue bills to the Senate only to have the Senate Majority leader refuse to bring them up to the full Senate.
      Under Article 1, Section 5, clause 2, Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.
      The Senate Republican’s should demand a Senate rule that any revenue bill presented to the Senate SHALL BE presented to the whole Senate within 60 days from the submission date from the House.
      This would force the Senate leader to do his job and eliminate this choke point.
      It would be quite humorous to hear the arguments against such a rule.

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    • Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
      December 31, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

      BluOwen, it seems to me that every time boehner opened his mouth obama started shrieking that he would veto it anyway so what would have been the point? While I agree that the republicans have been unbending, the president has been dictatorial. And, as librabob says, it is because obama has no leadership skills whatsoever and is nothing but a token affirmative action president. That is partially what went wrong with so many gov’t agencies, by the way– the least qualified were awarded the supervisory jobs based on race and nothing else.

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    • Blu OwenComment by Blu Owen
      December 31, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

      Grouchy One, our Constitution has served us well over the years and it is usually when these idiots ignore the precepts behind it that we the people are put in this situation.
      The reason why the Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to take up revenue bills submitted by the House is so he could blame them for not taking action. Then you have Obama that seems to believe that the Senate should put forth what the revenue bill should entail.
      Since the Senate can amend any revenue bill and pass it and then have the bill reconciled so it is agreeable to both houses of Congress it would then be signed and Obama would then have the decision to sign or veto it.
      Blame needs to go where it is occurring in the Democrat’s Senate leadership and Obama for his lack of Constitutional leadership.

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  2. Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
    December 31, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    It is absolutely ridiculous that we have a governing force that is too stupid to see that you can’t spend imaginary money! All these theatrics are getting tiresome.
    I’m sick of all the finger pointing, hand wringing and whining! I’m still furious that the Repbulicans couldn’t come up with a candidate who could get that joker out of the whitehouse and with the stupid people in this nation who voted him back in there. It was a catch-22 from the start and now all they seem to know how to do is whine.
    If Boehner thought he could do any better why didn’t he run for president?
    I’m sorry, I’m just sick of it. obama has proven many times in the past four years that he doesn’t care about anything or anyone but himself. He was in over his head from day one yet the congress continues to let him flounder around rather than show him once and for all that they do have a voice in the way this country runs. They can veto him, they can recall him, they can do a lot of things. So why don’t they just stop whining and do it?

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    • Cape ConservativeComment by Cape Conservative
      December 31, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

      It’s time for Boehner to acknowledge that he has been unable to accomplish a single thing in the past four years and step aside so that a new Speaker can have a go at it. It is quite obvious that he is the target (symbol) of all that the current occupier of the White House hates in his anti-colonialism beliefs. I would have loved to have watched a strong conservative such as Allen West take him on.

      America will be hard-pressed to survive another four years of the Boehner/Obama conflict.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      December 31, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

      Cape Conservative, If the speaker stepped down just because Obama doesn’t like him, that means Obama once again shows his dictatorial inclinations. The reason Boehner should step down is because he removed conservatives from their committee assignments, negotiated with Obama which isn’t his job, and he violated his oath by not calling for the impeachment of Obama on several different occasions. Obama chooses which federal laws he wants to obey and which ones he wants to ignore, he illegally circumvented the federal bankruptcy court and took over GM and Chrysler with taxpayer money, he has lied to Congress and the American people, he stood by and allowed a U.S. ambassador and three other American citizens to be murdered without trying to help them, and then he lied about the cause of the attack because he is a Muslim supporter. Obama is more anti-American than anyone I have known, and I still don’t think his eligibility to hold the office has ever been established.

      But the House will be voting on who is going to be their speaker during the next two years, and their decision should not be influenced in any way by Obama or Reid because it’s none of their business.

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    • Cape ConservativeComment by Cape Conservative
      December 31, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

      I agree re: the manner in which conservative representatives were removed from committees was more than enough cause for Boehner to step aside.

      The House should vote for someone with enough backbone to stand up to Obama and insist on the constitutional separation of powers…it is NOT “his way or the highway” regardless of what the president thinks!

      We need a STRONG leader in the House…and it wouldn’t hurt to have a new Minority Leader in the Senate, either. I’m tired of having to watch Reid hold up bills ‘just because’.

      Our Congress is in the worst shape I can remember…and they have no one but the leadership in both parties to blame for their low ratings in opinion polls. Newly elected members are at their wits’ ends trying to do what they were elected to do…represent their constituents!

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  3. JDZComment by JDZ
    December 31, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    With Obama, it is always a “win or lose” process which just shows how poor his leadership skills are and why any rational compromise is not possible with him. It looks to me that he revels in “beating” those “White guys” running the government, and those rich “White Guys” who have gotten rich off of the backs of the poor…the “people”. It is a form of class warfare that is continually an obsession with Obama as he puts raising the tax rates on the “rich” above spending cuts even though the additional income from raising these tax rates on those making over $250,000 will only pay the government bills for 8 days. It is a drop in the bucket when compared to the outrageous fact that the government continues to spend nearly 50% more per day then it takes in in revenue (spends $9 Billion a day while taking in $6 Billion).

    What is distressing to me is how the MSM pundits refuse to acknowledge the failures of the Obama administration to make any real progress in dealing with the economy and this growing financial disaster as they continue to pander to the President and his minions. I watched the interview David Gregory (Meet The Press) had with President Obama and Gregory let the President off of the hook on spending cuts, etc.

    The LIVs (Low Informed Voters) are responsible for electing politicians who continue to irresponsibly run our government. The American voters had a unique opportunity to elect an extremely talented man as President in Mitt Romney and failed to see why that was the best move for the country.

    So, the country continues to flounder with regard to the economy and continues to spend 50% more every day then revenue coming in to pay the bills. The Obama administration failed to make progress in his first term and seems to be determined to continue down the same failed path as he refuses to cut any real government spending.

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  4. msgtazComment by msgtaz
    December 31, 2012 @ 11:05 am

    The President can not dictate taxes on the American people only Congress can do that. If he tried he would be fried. Ha. The House should stand firm on the Bush Taxes and SPENDING(that is the real problem). No other deal should be made period.

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    • wobblymeComment by wobblyme
      December 31, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

      Then O would go on national TV and blame Congress and the Republicans for not letting him do his job and run the country.
      Then we would have more race riots, which he really enjoys.

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  5. librabobComment by librabob
    December 31, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    Reagan had his Tip O’Neil, Clinton had his Newt Gingrich, Bush had his Nancy Pelosi and Obama has his John Boehner. The difference between Reagan, Clinton and Bush as opposed to Obama, they all had honed their leadership skills as governors before coming to the Oval Office. They knew how to work with the other party and get things done, like passing annual budgets as required by law. Obama has no leadership skills and never did before becoming POTUS, amazing how he pulled that off. He is the first Whiner-N-Chief this nation has ever had. He is 100% in charge of the government but blames others when things go wrong under his watch, like the current budget fiasco. He is clearly more concerned right now with ensuring republicans will be blamed for going over the fiscal cliff than in getting a deal passed. The media seems to be eating out of his hand on this issue also. Even after the election, he still sees republicans as his enemy and that his number one job as POTUS is to destroy the GOP. I guess he views republicans with the same contempt as Al-Qaeda. What a twisted individual he is. When 2016 rolls around, for the sake of the country, I hope voters will elect someone based on their proven leadership skills and not just vote based on a person’s race or gender. America’s 1st Affirmative Action President has been disastrous for the nation as a whole.

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    • Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
      December 31, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

      Seems to me that you are right on the mark with your observations, librabob.

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    • Cape ConservativeComment by Cape Conservative
      December 31, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

      It would be such a pleasure to have a STRONG CONSERVATIVE Republican candidate that the majority of Americans could get behind to elect! The time has passed for this ‘it’s their turn’ candidate selection process. Neither McCain nor Romney had the support of conservative Americans. Some of us may have voted for them by holding our noses, but too many stayed home instead.

      Time for Scott Walker to start testing the waters…he has a proven track record and one that I believe would be attractive to the majority of Americans who answer ‘yes’ to having conservative beliefs.

      And if possible, it would be MOST welcome to NOT have the bloodbath primary debates as in the last election.

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    • mcrankComment by mcrank
      December 31, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

      You can see his lips moving—you can hear noise—but he isn’t saying anything. It’s like he has diarrhea on both ends—the emissions coming from either end are totally indistinguishable.

      He never had an idea—he never has a plan—he never takes serious initiative—yet when nothing gets accomplished, it’s the Republicans’ fault even though they are the ones making an effort. The White House is like an adult day-care center—physiologically they are all adults, but they behave as though they are 3 years old with a temper tantrum disorder.

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    • mcrankComment by mcrank
      December 31, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

      And to the troll who gave me a “1″—hit you where it hurt didn’t I? Is ums sulkin’ and poutin’ now??

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  6. popstComment by popst
    December 31, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

    It still amazes me that the Bush tax cuts were called a tax cut for the rich. In the past month, these tax cuts for the rich have become a tax increase for the middle class.
    Will this be a tax increase on those 47% who don’t pay taxes?

    All that’s happening is that was are going back to the Clinton era taxes. Clinton can’t be wrong or could he? Remember, he didn’t inhale. Our present Commander in Chief did, every time he saw a joint.

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    • truckmanComment by truckman
      January 2, 2013 @ 5:28 am

      popst;
      This looks a lot like O’s “RE-distribution of wealth” in action-the closest thing to a “plan” he’s shown so far.

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  7. crunchemComment by crunchem
    January 1, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

    “The offers that I’ve made to them have been so fair that a lot of Democrats get mad at me,” Obama said.

    So, ‘fair’ is something that the Democrats would get mad at? Interesting. I guess that means they would prefer a solution that is ‘unfair’. Wow.

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    • Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
      January 1, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

      The garbage that comes out of that man’s mouth is sometimes astounding.

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    • truckmanComment by truckman
      January 2, 2013 @ 5:34 am

      Notice how O works across the aisle? “YOU Republicans give and sacrifice,and don’t object to anything we Democrats decide to do,and I’ll do what I was gonna do anyway.THAT’S fair and balanced,isn’t it?Shut up!Don’t be a racist!…..”

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  8. truckmanComment by truckman
    January 2, 2013 @ 5:16 am

    Does anyone but me believe raising taxes on the Successful to a higher rate than the rest of us could be considered a HATE CRIME,and thus be prosecuted as such?

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    • truckmanComment by truckman
      January 2, 2013 @ 5:21 am

      I think any President that didn’t have a hatred for most of America would be pushing for a FLAT TAX,and would urge serious work on spending cuts EQUAL to the amount of projected tax revenue to begin immediately,rather than “at some time”.

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