Today, a high ranking source in the Senate informed Breitbart News that the chances of a Congressional deal being cut to avoid the fiscal cliff were “pretty strong,” despite President Obama’s deep desire to push America off the fiscal cliff.
“The strong sense among Republicans here,” the source told Breitbart News, “is that people generally want to avoid this. If we can protect a high percentage of people from going off the cliff, which I think most Democrats would be comfortable with, we’d be salvaging something.”
The proposed deal accepts many of President Obama’s stated priorities – but it denies him his most fervently-held priority, indefinite suspension of the debt ceiling.
The deal currently under discussion was reportedly negotiated between Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden. Our source told us that the calculus was simple: “None of us want to see taxes go up on anybody, but if we don’t do anything, we’re looking at a $4 trillion tax hike. Obama will simply take $1 trillion off the top and hand it to the folks who got him re-elected. He will rewrite the tax code to jack up taxes on everyone. Then he’ll come back and rebrand himself as a tax cutter.
“It can’t be overstated,” said our source, “that President Obama has no interest in avoiding the fiscal cliff. He gets everything he wants from a policy and political standpoint if we go off the fiscal cliff.”
But Obama won’t get everything: his failure to assure an indefinite suspension of the debt ceiling means that the real spending debate will center around that, which will prevent Obama from holding the American people hostage on their tax rates in order to guard his vast spending. “That discussion beings immediately,” the Senate source told us. “The priority for now was avoiding the cliff and trying to help as many taxpayers as possible avoid Democratic tax increases. But now the debate will turn to purely spending.”
The Senate source assured Breitbart News that taxes will not be on the table in terms of cutting our deficit regarding the debt ceiling. “This negotiation will not look like 2011,” the source said. “No repeats.” In fact, there are discussions under way among House and Senate Republicans to make raising the debt ceiling contingent on restructuring the vast bureaucracy that is Obamacare. There has also been talk about restructuring the cost of living adjustments for Social Security, and about restructuring other entitlement programs.
The Senate source emphasized that President Obama did not want to make a deal of any sort. “I don’t think enough interest has been put on the president’s lack of interest in doing anything,” the source stated. Obama hadn’t called McConnell since Thanksgiving; he flew to Hawaii for a week of golf, flew back, and then blamed Congress for getting nothing done.
President Obama has not been merely disengaged; it is clear he wanted to go over the cliff. Most of all, he wanted to tie the cliff to the debt ceiling debate; for him, spending is sacrosanct. “Every penny is sacrosanct to them,” said our source. “You need dynamite to move them off that position. That dynamite is the debt ceiling.”
Biden’s insertion into the negotiations is another sign that he is thinking of running for president in 2016. Senate Republicans have not been able to cut a single deal in four years with President Obama; this fiscal cliff deal would make three deals in four years with Biden. Biden’s attitude signifies interest in the fiscal degeneration of the nation, at least in small part; Obama evidences none of the that interest.
President Obama called a meeting after he came back from Hawaii with Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. At the end of the meeting, Obama turned to McConnell and Reid and told them to “figure it out.” He made no concrete proposals. McConnell and Reid then negotiated in “good faith” according to Reid, but Reid moved further and further to the left over the course of the negotiations. Finally, McConnell called Biden directly and told him that he needed someone to work with. Biden was reportedly flattered by the attention.
If this deal goes through, the revenue issue will have been settled; the spending will have to be dealt with, because without the full fiscal cliff, Obama will not get the full retinue of his available revenue. Whether a deal gets done or not now depends on McConnell’s ability to sell a deal to Republicans in the Senate. But any deal is a prelude to the real spending debate: the debt ceiling.