House & Senate In Fiscal Cliff Apathy

It appears that the “fiscal cliff” is not as important to politicians as they claim and it doesn’t matter what side of the aisle they are on either. Barack Obama pretends to care about it, but then he is more than happy to raise our taxes even to the point of economic collapse. But he’s not alone. Republicans and Democrats aren’t that interested in dealing with the issue promptly, though we heard all their rhetoric during the election.

Politico reports that the Senate has just up and left town for Thanksgiving.

About that whole year-end fiscal cliff thing that could throw the country back into recession? Well, the Senate doesn’t seem too panicked.

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With the sky about to fall in Washington, the Senate is shuttering its doors until after Thanksgiving week, having moved no closer to a tax-and-spending deal — let alone passage of major national security bills on defense and cybersecurity. The chamber couldn’t even pass a popular sportsmen and hunting bill that has been on the floor since before the elections, opting to wait until the week of Nov. 26 for a final vote.

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The reason is the same partisan stalemate that has led to one of the most unproductive congressional sessions in history. Senate Republicans accuse Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of bottling up the floor by refusing to allow GOP amendments to be considered. Democrats say Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has engaged in endless filibusters intentionally designed to slow down business.

The Bush-era tax cuts, the billions in sequestration cuts, the drastic cuts in payments to doctors for serving Medicare patients, the jobless benefits expiration and a possible raising of the debt ceiling has not even been addressed by the Senate. While there has been filibustering, something that Democrats are all too familiar with, Senate majority leader Harry Reid is unwilling to budge on anything but what he wants, while calling for compromise.

Additionally, while the House claims that talks are moving along, it seems they are not moving along in the right direction. It appears that Speaker of the House John Boehner is content with kicking the can down the road to 2013 for political gain.

The Hill reports,

A rift has emerged between Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over the timing of a deficit-reduction deal, which they discussed at the White House Friday.

The disagreement stems from a battle for leverage. Democrats want to strike an agreement now, when their political capital is at a high point following the election. They feel their position is further strengthened by the pending expiration of the Bush tax cuts and scheduled cuts to defense spending.

Republicans say a broad package would be too complex to finish in the next six weeks. But waiting until next year to complete an agreement would also help them politically as President Obama’s election mandate is likely to fade.

Boehner told Obama, Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at the meeting that tax reform and entitlement reform should wait until 2013, according to a Boehner aide.

Boehner’s aide also said, “The Speaker said he believes 2013 should be the year we begin to solve our debt problem through tax reform and entitlement reform, and proposed that both parties work together to avert the fiscal cliff together in a manner that ensures 2013 is that year.”

Reid said at a press conference on Friday “There is no more ‘let’s do it some other time.’ We’re going to do it now. We feel very comfortable with each other and this isn’t something we’re going to wait until the last day of December to get it done.”

I’m not holding my breath here, are you?

So the issue is not what is best for America or for citizens, but what is most politically expedient for the politician, as usual. As one commenter wrote on an article yesterday, it seems the American people can easily present a “vote of no confidence” in the leaders that have been elected.

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