Both House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and the Obama Administration made public offers for a settlement to the fiscal cliff this past week, yet the sides seem no closer to a resolution. Revenue continues to be the primary sticking point with the Obama Administration reiterating that it would not sign off on any agreement that does not include allowing the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 per year to expire. Meanwhile, Republicans are continuing to insist that taxes not go up for American families.
It’s in many ways a war of semantics since tax rates are scheduled to go up at the end of the year anyway absent a settlement. Some Democrats have lately been urging that to happen so that they can’t be accused of “raising” taxes. They also believe that if the rates do go up the President will have more leverage since Republicans will want to bring them back down. The President does indeed seem to have the most leverage, not only with the tax cuts but also with public polling showing that the Republicans would get the most blame for a failure to secure an agreement and with many Republicans adamant that the defense cuts included in sequestration be forestalled. Still, going over the fiscal cliff could slow down the economy, something the Obama Administration surely doesn’t want, while Republicans also have leverage with the President likely needing their consent in the near future for another increase in the debt ceiling. It’s a complicated game of brinksmanship and it is sure to continue right up to the edge of the fiscal cliff if not beyond.
CWLA continues to urge Congress and the President to spare programs serving children and families in any deficit reduction plan. We have amassed over 13,000 signatures in support of holding children harmless and invite you to join our growing voice on behalf of vulnerable children and their families. Sign and share the petition today. Help us reach 15,000 signatures before December 10.