Representatives call for action on fiscal cliff
December 22nd, 2012
05:56 PM ET
1 year ago

Representatives call for action on fiscal cliff

(CNN) – Rep. Tom McClintock, R-California, uses an analogy to explain why he supported Plan B, the alternative to a fiscal cliff deal proposed by House Speaker John Boehner, then scrapped because not enough House Republicans supported it.

“If a lifeguard sees 10 swimmers drowning off his beach and can only reach nine of them to save them, it doesn't mean that he's drowned the 10th one,” McClintock said.

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Currently, the Bush-era tax breaks are set to expire on incomes of all levels at the end of the year. Plan B was Boehner’s proposal to extend those breaks for incomes under $1 million – a practical compromise, the speaker figured, between President Barack Obama’s insistence that the threshold be set at $250,000 and Republicans’ determination to extend the rates on incomes of all levels. Since Boehner first offered the $1 million figure, Obama has countered by proposing the bar be set at $400,000.

But sensing shortly before a Thursday night vote that the measure did not have enough support among Republicans to pass his House, Boehner pulled it and issued a statement calling for Obama to take the lead. He and the president went into the long Christmas weekend still without a resolution for the fiscal cliff, and with political strategists saying the Plan B episode further weakened the speaker’s leverage in negotiations.

“All this nonsense about how somehow Boehner was trying to raise taxes is just that – nonsense,” McClintock told CNN on Saturday. “He was trying to stop a massive tax increase and unfortunately some of my colleagues didn't see it that way.”

Joining McClintock in his call for movement in the negotiations was Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, who appeared separately on CNN.

“You have the president at this table, you have the Senate, both Democrats and Republicans at the table,” she said. “The problem – the fissure line is in the House.”

Divisions within the Republican-controlled House, she said, were pushing the country towards the cliff.

“The American people want unity. The speaker and I both come from the state of Ohio – it was battleground Ohio just a few weeks ago. President Obama won,” she said.

“The president wants to reach an agreement. We would like Speaker Boehner along with those in his own party who oppose him to come forward with a proposal that they agree on,” Kaptur added.

McClintock found fault with the process of legislating in Washington. He said Obama meddled too early and should have waited for the House and Senate to work out the details first.

“Bad process creates bad policy,” he said. “The deliberative process is supposed to be continued independently within the two houses. The House and the Senate are supposed to act independently of each other.”

“When each house then comes to its own independent judgment about the course of action, then we've got a conference process that's very good at resolving the differences between the two houses,” he continued.

“Only then is the president brought into the process. What we've got now is a couple of legislative leaders sitting behind closed doors coming up with plans that they then drop in the laps of both houses of the Congress for a take it or leave it vote. That doesn't end well,” McClintock said.

The fiscal cliff was designed by Congress as an incentive to implement a deficit reduction plan. Should legislators fail to reach an agreement, automatic spending cuts known as the sequester, distributed among both domestic and defense programs, would kick in. The cuts coincide with the expiration of the Bush-era tax breaks, which have previously been renewed.

Also on legislators’ plates is an emergency aid request for states affected by Superstorm Sandy.

Despite the cliff being only 10 days away and legislators not scheduled to return until only five days remain, both McClintock and Kaptur were optimistic that a deal would be reached and called for action on Capitol Hill.

“I am mortally embarrassed to be speaking to you from my district when we should be back in Washington right now,” McClintock said.


Filed under: California • Fiscal Cliff • Ohio
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. DENNA

    Keep it up Boehner & Co. 2014 will see you all "retired" from public life. The fact that America gave President Obama a second term should make obvious that we want YOU to coopeate with him. Get a freakin' clue.

    December 22, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It is my opinion the GOP don't give an D about the majority of Americans and their families but they got religion. If that's the God the GOP knows, I don't want to know him/her.

    December 22, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. Vpcam

    President can not negotiate with a STONE or COLLECTION OF STONES IN THE HOUSE. President needs real people with feelings and active brain who put country first, not party ideology. The current crop of GOP in the house and the newly elected GOP crop in the house don't care for the country. I advocate to go off the cliff, the best medicine for the long-term interest of the country.

    December 22, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  4. Name lynn

    the republicans did not agree with boehner because hes wrong about the taxes its all about the rich people what about the poor and middle class people we paying higher taxes just like he rich people what the heck wrong with boehne

    December 22, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  5. starborn63

    “If a lifeguard sees 10 swimmers drowning off his beach and can only reach nine of them to save them, it doesn't mean that he's drowned the 10th one,” McClintock said.

    If the lifeguard sees the 10 swimmers but knows that ONE is wealthy, well-connected and can further the lifeguard's career and personal financial future so chooses to save THAT one and let the rest drown....is exactly the problem with the "plan"

    December 22, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  6. Tony

    Republicans want to save the top 3 percent of the 10th swimmer, the one who has the most money. Otherwise, Republicans will let them all drown.

    December 22, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  7. batjones

    Mr. McClintock is complaining of the President taking a lead role in the negotiations. For the past four years, Republicans have been complaining about the President not leading until late in the process. Now, that the President is out in front saying, "Follow me", Mr. McClintock complains that he is not getting a chance to express himself. The problem is that Republicans cannot count. They cannot count votes and they cannot count money in a budget. The Republicans need to try something new like follow the President's lead, and then we will watch everything fall into prosperity.

    December 22, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  8. Evergreen

    When the President does not get involved in passing a bill the GOP says he is not leading. When gets involved they complain. How many times has the President asked them to do their job.

    December 22, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  9. CAWinMD

    Just in case it escaped Rep. McClintock's attention, the esteemed Speaker of the House said that Obama had to be at the table, that he was the one who had to negotiate this deal. If Rep. McClintock has a problem with that, perhaps he should be chatting with Boehner rather than CNN.

    It is truly sad watching Republicans grasp at straws on this. There's a reason why Americans prefer Obama's approach, just as there is a reason that they know who to blame if we fall off the cliff. The faster that Republicans truly internalize why that is, the faster we will get started on making progress on this issue.

    December 22, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  10. JSM

    We go over the cliff and the Nat'l Park Service lets go of 9000 park rangers and numerous LE on public lands loose their jobs as well.....all the while these JACKS keep their jobs. Bullshit. Thanks for serving the country so well. Appreciate all the hard work you're doing – well done! way to go! pat yourselves on the back.......

    December 22, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  11. wwf

    Lets see. You have the GOP saying the President is not doing enough or has done nothing. Along comes this feller and he says the President became involved too early. There is no pleasing the GOP, no matter what he does. He could accept everything they want and they would say that he should have done it sooner. The GOP can kiss my independent $%%

    December 22, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  12. Derak

    The fissure in the house is responsible for the lack of a solution?

    How quickly we forget the fact that 0bama already said he would veto it before the House even looked at it. Reid said he wouldn't even let the senate vote on it!

    Consider for one moment that this bill had the tax increase to Clinton levels on millionaires that 0bama asked for while conserving the Bush tax cuts for the middle class (even though Dems told us the last 4 years there were none, that it was "just tax cuts for the rich"). He asked for that too... Consider that this bill didn't even address spending cuts, which 0bama has balked at ever since the day after the election, when he said he wanted some, but has only proposed cuts of his own 8 years down the road. So far, he has threatened to veto all the bills containing spending cuts and said that Boehners entitlement cuts were unacceptable and, again, for emphasis, 0bama has not proposed any cuts until after his 2nd term ends anyway.

    In fact, Plan B was essentially the deal proposed by Pelosi, then refined and publicized by Schumer, that increased taxes on millionaires to clinton levels while preserving Bush tax cuts for middle class and no real spending cuts.

    The obvious conclusion is that 0bama wants to go over the cliff, and being a little cynical, I believe that is so he can raise taxes on every working american while postponing any real spending cuts until they are forgotten, except maybe some military cuts, since he may actually want those.

    December 22, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  13. tammyk tammy

    Maybe the GOTP, Grinch On Taxes Party, will manage to locate their shriveled up hearts over the Christmas holidays and decide to do the Christian thing by not screwing the struggling poor and middle classes over the cliff and into the ground. Be sure to put armed guards at the church doors just in case Jesus decides to show up for a conversation about your greed and your treatment of your fellow human beings since you wouldn't want Him influencing the need for tax breaks for millionaires.

    December 23, 2012 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  14. Martin Belz

    The Republican Party is showing it's real face again. They don't care about the people, they only care about themselves. Luckily the american public was smarter than they thought they are. They did the only rational thing, voting for Obama again. One can only hope that with each new election, voters will remember which party is caring about the american people and which party is only caring for its party member. The decission should not be a difficult. Wishing the republicans a merry Christmas and many thanks for your present in having America fall off the fiscal cliff. Great job, we will remember.

    December 23, 2012 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  15. bob

    it's hard to believe these incompetents actually had the nerve to go on vacation with the economy on the brink of upheavel. i say change the locks while they are gone and take away their elitist healthcare and retirement.

    December 23, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    There is too much unfinished business, and too much of a divide, for anything to be done, before the new Congress begins in January. The cliff is a done deal.

    December 23, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  17. plain&simple

    Cantor and his band of tea party cronies want the power of the speakers seat. That's what this posturing has been all about....who would have thought in our country we would have two tea parties? One to start the greatest system of governing in the world and one to try and end it!!!!

    December 23, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  18. John

    Well you Republican have to make your mind up, first you have John Boehner saying that the President should take the lead and now you have Republican saying the President got Into the talk to fast and It should have gone thought Congress and the Senate First. So to you Republican no matter what the President does he wrong. Well I think It time You Republican quit trying to blame the President for everything ,and put the Blame where In really should be and that with the Republican Control Congress. After all the President Didn't sigh any Pledges and he not worry about Grover Norquist or what he say. What really matter the Republican should have never sigh any Pledges In the First place, because they took a Oath of Office.

    December 23, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |