Happy New Year, ya bastids!
I hope you had a great New Year’s. But if you spent New Year’s Eve counting down the fiscal cliff negotiations, your counting went quite a while past midnight. In fact, you were still counting until late on Tuesday night. By then I’m sure your champagne was decidedly flat. Some people get time off for the holidays, other people have to work. Then there are the people in Congress, who have to work, but take the time off anyway. The fiscal cliff deal was a typical Congressional action—a day late, and a trillion dollars short. We didn’t exactly avert the fiscal cliff—we actually went over it and spent a day dangling from a tree branch over the chasm. Or more accurately, it was like we were hanging on to the cliff ledge by our fingers, while Eric Cantor and the Tea Party caucus in the House were stomping on our hands.
Nobody is happy—it’s just that Republicans are much, much louder when they’re unhappy. Anything that makes conservatives this apoplectic has got to have a lot of good things going for it. Charles Krauthammer said “This is a complete surrender on everything.” Gee Charles, as much as I’d like to believe we got everything we wanted, at least it’s nice to know that you believe it, if only because I know it really bugs you.
Ultimately, the negotiations were saved by Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell, two veterans of the Senate. It’s ironic—Washington can make you crazy, but the only sane people left are the ones who have been there a long time. These days, the people who are just showing up in D.C. are crazier than the ones who have been there forever.
John Boehner has pulled the plug on a bill to provide relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Peter King, a Republican from Long Island said “What they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans.” Hey, they had been trying to knife people on Social Security and Medicare in the fiscal cliff negotiations. Maybe they just really felt like knifing somebody.
BTW, at noon on Thursday, the new 113th Congress will get sworn in. So lobbyists should remember to stop writing “112th Congress” on their checks.
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President Obama comments on the passage of the deal, says again there will be no debt ceiling negotiations, and makes it clear that future spending cuts will need to be balanced with more revenues...