President Obama addressed a gathering of progressive and labor leaders, and told them something that they have been waiting to hear for a long time: he will not budge on letting the Bush tax cuts expire for Americans making over $250,000 a year. “I said in 2010 that I'm going to do this once, and I meant it,” said the President.
Why should we believe him this time? Because he has all the leverage. Should Republicans refuse to pass a bill that lowers taxes for 98% of Americans to hold out for the wealthiest 2%, Senate Democrats are prepared to wait for all of the tax cuts to expire, pass a bill reinstating those cuts for all Americans making under $250,000, and dare the G.O.P.-led House to not pass it. After an election where the most common verb used to describe what happened to Republicans was “shellacked,” Democrats are willing to bet all their marbles that the House would pass the tax cut, which Obama would then sign into law.
One Potential Twist
While liberals mock him for his explanation of why he is not the Vice-President, some Republicans have called for Paul Ryan to be nominated to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House. While it’s always safer to bet on the status quo with this sort of thing—Boehner doesn’t seem to have any plans to go anywhere—Republican members of the House could vote to replace Boehner with Ryan. While Boehner has spoken recently about how it is time to make a deal, Ryan just spent the last six months telling America why letting the Bush tax cuts expire on the richest Americans is a bad idea. Would Speaker Ryan allow a bill that didn’t reinstate the Bush cuts for the fat cats through the House, unamended? Stay tuned…