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John Boehner: Let's have debt fight right now
Made popular 368 days ago in
Forget the lame duck. Some top lawmakers want Congress to deal with the whole mess of expiring taxes and start up another debt-limit debate right away, in the heat of an election.
That was Speaker John Boehner’s message at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s fiscal summit Tuesday, as he declared he’s “ready” to tackle the nation’s fiscal woes and bring up the Bush tax cuts, and even another painful round of debt-reduction talks.
It came as a surprise to many Republicans in the Capitol that, six months before the lame-duck session, Boehner (R-Ohio) was ready to lay out his demands on the debt ceiling and expiring tax provisions.
It would be an incredible long shot to get both chambers — and the White House — on the same page on these epic issues during the election season, but other lawmakers want to at least start the debate before the lame duck forces a year-end scramble of ugly legislating.
Boehner’s sentiment was echoed by moderates in the Senate, like Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who said he’s worried that waiting until the final weeks of 2012 will make it impossible to find solutions to avoid $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts and massive tax increases.
“Of course it does,” Lieberman said when asked if he was worried about replaying last year’s debt ceiling fight. “There should be a better way to do this. You know this whole idea of waiting until the lame-duck session and then trying to do all of this, that we have to do in a limited number of weeks — that’s very risky.”
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) — who, like Lieberman, is retiring — also wants to lay the groundwork for the monumental fights.
“We have a lot of issues pending in the lame-duck session, and I think we ought to be settling them now as opposed to later,” Snowe told POLITICO. “And that would be my argument all the way around, so we know what direction the country is going in — and not slapdash in the lame-duck session in all these big questions.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), however, waived off the notion.
“With the way that the Republicans are forcing us to legislate, I honestly don’t see our being able to do much of anything prior to the election,” Reid said. “There’s a lot of stuff we have to do in the lame duck. And, well, as indicated, the most successful lame duck in [the] history of the country was the one that we completed two years ago, 18 months ago. And so hopefully, we’re as successful this time as we were then.”
It’s not news that Boehner wants to offset the debt ceiling increase and complete tax reform in 2013, but he is sending a clear signal that he wants a fierce debate on these issues before the election.
Boehner’s Tuesday speech marked the opening salvo in the months-long, election-year battle over debts and deficits, which culminates in December when almost every tax cut of consequence expires.
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Shouldn't Harry Reid be willing to jump into the debt debate and owning it rather than running scared from the GOP?
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