In the end, in the last minutes of the House that was elected in the tea party year, 2010, Boehner's Republican caucus couldn't even get its majority.
Tomorrow some of them will be gone. That's about the best news we can take away from last night cliff-hanger. That and the Republican leadership pleading, "Please, socialist muslim DemoRats, will you help us out?"
But no one is a real winner here. We still have the debt ceiling ahead. The only difference is that the "we" of Congress is about to change (tomorrow) in the House, and the Dem majority in the Senate has grown. And the ratings agencies are breathing down the collective neck of Congress, threatening a rate dip.
For you and me facing tax season, we will be paying at least a little more. Some will lose a significant amount more. According to the Times, even if your earnings put you in the bottom 20%, you'll wind up with 1.1% less income. Next quintile up? 1.3% less. Next? 1.5% less. 1.7% less. In the top quintile they'll have 3.1% to 8.4% less income.
And about this being a no-win situation, the real no-winner is if you live in a state impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
The developments in the House dealt a major blow to leaders from the storm-battered region, who had been pushing top Republicans in the chamber to adopt a $60.4 billion aid package that the Senate passed last week.
Lawmakers and a top Republican aide said late Tuesday that Speaker John A. Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, appeared unwilling to introduce any Hurricane Sandy aid legislation before the chamber adjourns in the next day or so. If the legislation is not introduced before the session ends, it would have to be reintroduced in the new Congress and passed by both chambers. ...New York Times
If you live in Florida or Oklahoma and one of those megastorms blows through your territory, don't look north and east for help.
How did the Republicans really do in all of this? Not bad, according to an analysis in the Times.
“For me, this is very much an ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’ thing,” said Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary in the years of Mr. Bush’s tax fights. “As a Bush loyalist, it’s fantastic that the Bush tax cuts, which now have to be seen inarguably as overwhelmingly for the middle class, are being made permanent. On the other hand, it’s inarguable that this adds $4 trillion to the federal debt.”
The 10-year price includes $762 billion to lock in the Bush tax rates of 10 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent and 33 percent, along with some of the Bush-era 35 percent bracket; $354 billion to continue Mr. Bush’s expanded child credit; and $339 billion to secure Mr. Bush’s 15 percent capital gains and dividend rates for families earning less than $450,000. Fixing the alternative minimum tax would cost the Treasury $1.8 trillion, according to the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.
Democrats say they had little choice. The Bush White House and Republican Congresses structured the tax cuts so that letting them expire would be politically difficult. Add the across-the-board spending cuts if Congress did nothing, and President Obama felt he had to extend most of the tax cuts or watch the economy sink back into recession. ...NYT
Okay, so how did Democrats do, bottom line?
“New occasions make for new truths,” said Representative Danny K. Davis, a Democrat from Illinois and a veteran of the partisan wars over the Bush tax cuts. “New situations make ancient remedies uncouth.” ...NYT
"Uncouth"? Oh well.
Most galling for Republicans are provisions projected to add $330 billion in spending over 10 years, including $30 billion in unemployment compensation and $21 billion in payments to Medicare health providers. None of those provisions are objectionable on their own, but collectively they almost proved impossible for Republicans to accept.
Even one of the chief architects of the Bush tax cuts, R. Glenn Hubbard, a Columbia University economist, was not crowing about their potential enshrinement. He said some Bush-era policies were no longer relevant to the task of tailoring a tax code to a properly sized government. ...NYT
If you're still looking for who's hurting -- and in a rage -- this morning, the Washington Post has one answer: the tea party. (The Post doesn't capitalize their name either.) If you're looking for continuing speculation and drama, the opposite votes of Boehner and Cantor could provide that.
Dave Weigel at Slate reports on those votes:
John Boehner was one of the first to vote. Shortly after the roll opened on the fiscal cliff compromise bill, a green "Y" appeared next to the speaker's name in the electronic vote-counter that splashes on the wall behind the speaker's chair. Reporters craned their necks to see how the rest of the leadership would vote. They took their time. Then:
There were only 85 Republican ayes, to 151 nays -- a nearly 2-1 vote against the speaker's postion. And it wasn't exactly broadcast in the run-up to the vote. At 5:01 p.m., after a bunch of reporters (including me) had confirmed that Cantor opposed the bill in conference, Cantor spokesman Doug Heye tweeted: "Majority Leader Cantor stands with @SpeakerBoehner. Speculation otherwise is silly, non-productive and untrue." But Cantor and McCarthy held their votes until the bill cleared the threshold, then gave the thumbs down. ...Slate
Majority Leader Eric Cantor: No
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy: No
Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rogers: Aye
Budget Chairman Paul Ryan: Aye
America's reaction to all this? Political Wire reports:
A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds that 77% of Americans say the way politics works in Washington is causing serious harm to the country.
The financial markets overseas are going nuts. Futures are up over here according to early reports.
The London stock market surged to its highest level for 18 months today after Barack Obama clinched a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.
The FTSE 100 broke through the psychologically important 6,000 mark for the first time since early 2011 as investors cheered the US agreement on tax rises and spending cuts.
Shortly after 10.15am, the FTSE100 Index was up 115.22 points, or 2 per cent at 6,013.03.
It put the index of leading shares on course to reach the 6091.33 reached in February 2011, its highest level since 2008.
At the depths of the financial crash, the FTSE100 dropped below 3,500.
Markets across the globe have been buoyed by the US deal, despite the threat of sharp tax increases on the wealthy and the prospect of more political battles to come.
Shares in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea were all boosted by the news.