Republicans have been critical of President Obama since before he initially took office. As Congress bickers and gets little done, they - and in particular House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) - have tried to paint the president as an ineffectual leader. During the Libya crisis, they castigated him for "leading from behind". As we go through the same and sadly familiar yearly exercise of trying to get a spending bill enacted, Boehner has declared that the president should act like an adult and show some leadership on budget negotiations.
The initial spending bill from the Republicans was DOA, as it was essentially the Ryan budget plan
that was soundly rejected by proxy via the most recent general election. So Boehner had the grand idea of proposing a "Plan B". It raised the tax increase bar from $250K/yr to $1M/yr. It also contained some rather draconian cuts in spending. It would not pass the Senate, but the real idea here was to get something out of the House, let the Dems vote it down, and then proclaim victory.
Except - he got shafted by his own party.
This "compromise" which was still too regressive for Democrats was apparently too "liberal" for the majority of Republicans in the House. After trying to rally enough votes before bringing it to the floor, Boehner gave up
, and said it was up to the Dems to find a solution. How's that for leadership? If he can't even convince his own party to vote for a bill, what chance does he have to get the Dems to vote for it?
Apparently the Speaker expects the Dems to work on this over the Christmas holiday while they're at home sitting by the fire, and have something ready to go a couple days before new years eve, since they decided to pack it up and go home
. How many CEOs do you know of that walk out of a meeting at 5:00 because that's supposed to be quitting time? The president, showing what hard work and leadership looks like, stated that they will work with the Congress
to get it done. He's postponed being with his family for Christmas before to be available to sign last minute bills (remember the debt limit debacle?).
The House DID manage to pass the NDAA
for next year. Glad to see they have their priorities in order. Military: yes... preventing millions of families' taxes from going up: no. This will hit the poor particularly hard, as below a certain income level, the dollar amount (not percent) of the tax increase is the same. It also means that the extended unemployment benefits will stop as well. Meanwhile, hunger and homelessness is rising dramatically
in the U.S.
It's been said that the "fiscal cliff" is really more like a fiscal curb, or a fiscal slope. For those on the margins, however, a curb can seem like a cliff when you're scraping by as it is. The working poor need this deal to happen; they need their government to actually work and compromise and agree on something
John Boehner has shown himself incapable of doing that. John Boehner can shut the hell up about being a leader and acting like an adult. He's proven he can do neither.