House takes break, leaves a lump of coal behind
BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, December 22, 2012
12/22/12 at 3:32 AM
The U.S. House of Representatives headed home Friday to have themselves a merry little Christmas, leaving behind a big lump of coal in the stocking of every American family - especially the middle class.
Following a last-ditch effort by Speaker John Boehner, the House leader concluded that he had no chance of getting the votes to pass his "Plan B" proposal and adjourned for the holiday.
There is little doubt that the House Republicans are in revolt, led by a determined group of tea party radicals who are steadfast in their pledge to raise no taxes, no time.
It is difficult to imagine the popularity of Congress falling any lower than it already has, but this could plunge it to depths never before seen. And it could mean big trouble in the 2014 midterms.
In fact, Boehner's hold on the speaker post could be in trouble when he comes up for vote Jan. 3.
If nothing is done, the country is headed for the dreaded "fiscal cliff" that will see Bush-era tax cuts automatically expire. That will be a big hit for the middle class.
President Obama has sent signals that he is willing to compromise and has received some heavy criticism from fellow Democrats for doing so.
In fact, Boehner's "Plan B" called for raising taxes only on those earning more than $1 million a year. Obama initially had called increasing taxes on those making $250,000 and more. Still, Boehner could not muster the votes in his own caucus to pass that measure.
Frankly, it would have likely failed in the Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats. At this point, however, the blame can be directly laid on the House, which is controlled by the Republicans. What the American public will see is a House that refused to raise taxes on merely 2 percent of the population while allowing for drastic cuts in defense, among other automatic cuts, and a tax hike of as much as $2,000 a year for most of middle America.
The Republicans could be headed for another cliff, the 2014 mid-term cliff that could see Democrats regain control of both houses of Congress.
So, enjoy your Christmas, members of Congress. The majority of American will use the coal you left us for heat this winter. It could help cut down on the utility bills.
Original Print Headline: A lump of coal
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (left), R-Va., speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington on Friday. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/Associated Press