December 1st, 2012
01:56 PM ET
1 year ago

Rep. Terry: Republicans have no leverage

(CNN) - Rep. Lee Terry, R-Nebraska, says it would be politically advantageous for President Obama if no deal on the fiscal cliff is met by the end of the year, calling the administration’s proposals to tame the nation’s debt “disingenuous.”

"We come back from the election; we want to get the fiscal cliff resolved,” Terry told CNN on Friday. “But yet we aren't seeing anything from the White House.”

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If no deal is reached by the end of the year, automatic federal spending cuts and tax rate increases will go into effect, a situation economists warn could slow economic growth and push the country back into a recession.

If the U.S. economy goes over the cliff, Terry says, Obama could come back to Congress a couple months later with a bill to lower taxes on the middle class. The Republicans would feel pressure to vote in favor of it because the GOP supports lower taxes, he says.

"Many of us feared the president's real plan was to let us go over the fiscal cliff and blame the Republicans," Terry said. "That's what it looks like we're being set up to do."

Obama held a campaign-style event at a Pennsylvania toy manufacturing plant on Friday, attempting to shore up public support for his approach to debt and deficit negotiations.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner laid out the White House's plan to congressional Republican leaders earlier this week and reiterated the Obama administration’s long-held stance that upper-income tax cuts should expire and include additional tax measures that would generate a total of $1.6 trillion in new revenue. The plan added $50 billion for a stimulus program and automatic increases in the debt ceiling.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he won't support another increase in the debt ceiling without spending cuts and reforms to match.

Terry said the debt ceiling is "about the only level of leverage we have."

A CNN Poll released this week shows 45% of Americans would blame Republicans if a deal isn’t reached, compared with 34% who say it would be Obama’s fault. Nearly half say Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with the Republicans, and seven in 10 want him to compromise with the GOP even if he has to sacrifice some of his beliefs.

CNN's Dana Davidsen, Deirdre Walsh and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Fiscal Cliff
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Sandy

    What are you talking about?! The President DID put an offer on the table. It's just a first offer, it's up to Republicans to counter offer. Put the cuts you want on the table. Until you do that, YOU have not done your part.

    December 1, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. plain&simple

    Terry is right....put your plan forward and work for a compromise. Live with it ,just like we have as a nation the last 200 years Obama out maneuvered his opponents and rivals now It's time to get it done.

    December 1, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Wes

    All Republicans should do is either vote 'present' or suggest giving the middle class an additional tax break. You can't negotiate with a child.

    December 1, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  4. Pander Bear

    Uh, the President simply wants assurances that the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250k will expire and the GOP is still adamantly refusing. Obama has also offered serious spending cuts but nobody is getting anywhere without the tax cuts expiring. If we do go over the 'fiscal cliff' it will be because of the GOP. Period.

    December 1, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Peter Clarke

    Your not being set up and don't blame it on Obama. Your basically sticking with the rich guys that are so important to your campaign funds. Since all of your needs are filled i.e. Great health benefits, great retirement and perks beyond belief. We're not stupid out here in TV land.

    December 1, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. michael

    Repuglicans think Americans are stupid! Americans for the last 2 election years let all Americans know his plans on taxes and this economy, now GOP is in shock. This socaled "shock" and "outrage" is just as political as the hyped up Bengazi attack episode! These repuglicans should shy away from shame, hypocrisy or craziness, but that's their new "logo" along with, anti women, black, hispancic, seniors and country! I will say they are for the corporations, rich, billionaires, millionaires, racist undertones, incendiary rhetoric and political suicide!

    December 1, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. John the Historian

    Just let the Bush tax cuts for the billionaires and millionaires lapse. Stay out of any wars of choice. Cut the military-industrail complex. No more new military projects. Expand free trade of Nafta. Don't let Wall Street have bonuses without profit and the economy will bloom.

    December 1, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. plain&simple

    In a game of chicken...if no one gives everyone loses! Now we shall see who is worthy and who is not. Elected officials always say what an honor it is to be elected and to serve one's country....ok show what that honor looks like!

    December 1, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    President Obama won a landslide victory. The unhinged GOBP tea potty crying and praying for America to fail will bring about the same result in 2014.

    December 1, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Evergreen

    Has the GOP offered a counter proposal? I think that is how it works. One party makes an offer the other party counters. They offer and counter offer until a deal is made.

    December 1, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. Curt

    How ridiculous that he thinks the President would deliberately let the country go over the fiscal cliff. Maybe the republicans should start listening to the polls. The majority of Americans agree the rich should pay more and technically its not really a tax raise, its just putting the tax rate back where it was prior to Bush. Lets also remember Obama was re-elected by the majority of Americans. Its time the republicans did what they are suppose to do, represent the people and not their own party ideas.

    December 1, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. noneyobeeswax

    This did bring something to my attention and it is a legitimate question...

    Why should the republicans have leverage to hurt the country if Obama does not do what they want?

    They did it already and frankly I am tired of listening to them rant and rave about problems they are making worse by gumming up the functioning of the legislative branch. It is easy to break the government when you are running part of it... but it proves nothing except how little you care about the nation compared to your agenda.

    That said, I hope Obama has the economist equivalent of a team of fortune-telling deity in the west wing who has reliably predicted everything up to now who says that the fiscal cliff will cause mianly reversible damage... but I doubt he does.

    December 1, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. Ron Cooper

    You are completely wrong. You are seeing what should be brought up in Congress and yet you Reps think you have to do it your way or no way. Grover Norquist should be proud of all of you. Such a shame one man controls the thinking of all the Repub Congressmen and women. Same junk as last year. Give you rich people the breaks and to hell with the peons. Very nice to spend few years kowtowing to Lobbyist, money under the table and then get close to 100k a year for life. When does the elected offficials do the people's work and not theirs?

    December 1, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Geithner is an economist and trying to teach doctors and lawyers in Congress math, which they clearly don't understand and aren't willing to compromise. It's time to get these doctors and lawyers back in their own profession and get them out of economics class.

    December 1, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. Sharon

    Mr. Terry, if the country goes over the 'Fiscal Cliff', it will be the Republicans' fault. Obama agreed to the committee of six almost 18 months ago and your fellow party members didn't look at compromise. All you right wingers thought that the American people would not see your game and vote Obama out of office so you could stick it to the middle and lower wage Americans. Didn't work, did it? Either the Republicans reach out to the President and the Democrats and prove you actually care about the country or take the blame.

    December 1, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. Try4Sanity

    Another attempt to deny who won the election. The President made it clear where he stood on resolving the fiscal cliff issue throughout the campaign. The top 2% pays more. The rest of us, the 98%, pay the same. Now the Republicans are shocked that he meant what he said. I know that republicans don't support basic science, proven facts, or even arithmetic (See Karl Rove regarding who won Ohio), but the people have spoken. Mittens Robme, the biggest flip flopper to ever run for office, lost. Obama won. Let's go over the cliff and let "the party of No" try to blame the President. 2014 can't come soon enough so we can get rid of these windbags.

    December 1, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. anonoymous

    This is not a game....real people are behind these numbers. Quit scoring this as a win/lose situation for Obama. Mr Obama already won re election. Let's view this as a win win for the american people and the ecomony. Im just tired of all this campaigning after the election has long been over. Trying to make the president bad only shows how immature the gop is. The main goal should be the people and their best interest.

    December 1, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. Gurgyl

    ....nor credence either. No wonder they lost like craze. These guys are losing public TRUST. All the red states are turning into Blue. True.

    December 1, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. Debbie

    GOP doesn't even really have debt ceiling as they voted to raise it for GWBush each year. That translates to every House Rep that seeks re-election. Evidence still the party of no, Skip the falling off cliff. Just jump. Bush Tax cuts expire, puts Norquist and TEAParty in their place (both ruined the GOP) and begins much needed Defense Cuts. Will we all pay more? Yep! But that would happen anyway.

    December 1, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Mac Qurashi

    Republicans, in much stronger position then, created what is now called the 'fiscal cliff' in anticipation of winning the White House, the Senate and the House. If that had happened, they would have been in full control to make Bush taxes permanent and followed up on Paul Ryan's draconian budget. Surprise! Even with all the gerrymandering, voter suppression and distorting the facts they lost big. Obama won by a majority of 5m votes and more electoral college votes than Bush's reelection. They also lost two seats in the Senate instead of winning the control of the Senate and double digit loss in the House. No wonder they have lost leverage. They are facing a cliff of their own creation. Obama should do exactly what Rep. Terry says and put the Groverists (Republicans) on the spot in the next Congres.

    December 1, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. Randy, San Francisco

    If the country goes over the fiscal cliff, a whole generation of young, women, and minority voters suffering from the recession will blame the GOP/Tea Party for their woes. The GOP/Tea Party will be relegated to minority status for the next 10 to 15 years. So continue the short sighted political strategy of saying NO to everything and pay a heavy price for years to come.

    December 1, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. CBR

    The American people are the losers here. Many have already stated that they feel Congress has stonewalled. The approval rating for Congress is very low and no one seems to care that he/she is responsible for that. The only mantra they know is to blame the President. Well, we need to start putting pressure on Congress to solve this fiscal problem. The Republicans need to come to the table ready to compromise and then the Democrats need to do the same. Sit at teat table until a bi-oartisan agreement is hammered out. If necessary, lock them in the room until they do so.

    The American people have watched as the Republican leadership in the House has refused to do anything which might give the President an edge in his re-election bid. Well that did not work but we will keep trying. We will pass legislation that makes it difficult for the President even if that means the American people are victims. Hopefully a new class of Republican congressmen and congresswomen will push to make changes in that stance.

    December 1, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |