StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between


Posted by Stan Collender

Make no mistake about it; House Republicans definitely prefer that a Republican be elected president.

But what's been clear for years on things related to the budget has become even more obvious in recent weeks with the take-no-prisoner decisions House Republicans made on immigration and agriculture: The House GOP is increasingly unwilling to make its own political lives even slightly more difficult by making accommodations (that is, compromises) that make the election of a Republican candidate in 2016 more likely.

And I don't just mean compromises with Democrats. These days House Republicans are as unwilling to make deals that make life easier for their R Senate colleagues as they are with the Ds in either house.

Posted by Stan Collender

The day after Election Day is never a good time to do substantive analysis. The win seems bigger to those who won and those who lost usually are more despondent than the situation warrants.

That's the situation this morning: Democrats are crowing about permanent new demographic shifts in the electorate while the GOP is doing the standard soul searching by those who didn't accomplish what they had hoped.

As far as the federal budget is concerned, this will all change tomorrow when the caffeine induced highs and lows of the election are replaced with the realization that some very big fiscal cliff deadlines are now just seven weeks away.

Here's the situation:

1. At some point very soon -- probably around noon today eastern time -- the mood will change as the House GOP realizes that it is the last bastion when it comes to taxes and spending.

Posted by Stan Collender

Is anyone else as surprised as I am by how badly the GOP played its flip-flop on the payroll tax cut extension?

Never mind the actual policy change and the fact that the tea party wing got hosed yet again, but making the announcement the same day as the Obama budget was released meant that (1) it rather than what the White House proposed became the biggest tax and spending story of the day and (2) the GOP criticisms of the budget had to compete with the explanations for the cave for attention.

As I look at the news websites this morning, the GOP reversal is being played way above the budget story and its criticisms and complaints of the president's plan are harder to find.

The word is that the GOP made the decision on Friday. Wouldn't it have made more sense to release the announcement then so that it would have been old news by Monday and the criticisms of the Obama budget would have been front and center (or top right above the fold)?

And doesn't the fact that the GOP either didn't think about this or made a very bad decision to make the announcement on Monday indicate more disarray in the leadership than might otherwise be apparent.

Posted by Stan Collender

Politico reported this morning that the House GOP rank-and-file are in "full revolt" over the payroll tax cut bill the Senate passed yesterday and that the results of the Monday vote on it are in doubt.

The bill will pass the House as is if there is a straight up-or-down vote because the combination of a majority of Democrats plus a handful of Republicans will provide the necessary margin. This is the same formula that enabled other budget-related measures to be adopted this year when the GOP rank-and-file -- especially the first-termers -- were not happy with the legislation.

The question is whether House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will be allowed by his caucus to do that this time. If the House GOP's anger is as great as Politico says, Boehner may not have that freedom.  Instead, to appease his members, Boehner may need a floor procedure that leads to a conference and, therefore, further negotiations, with the Senate.

Posted by Bruce Bartlett
Reprinted from The Fiscal Times
Republicans in Congress have reached a crossroads – they must decide if they are a governing party or one so beholden to its ideological fringe that it is incapable of doing the basic work of a legislative body. How the party answers that question will determine not only the direction of policy on key issues and Republican prospects for reelection next year, but who will be president in 2013.
It is obvious that the Tea Party phenomenon has rocked Republican politics; pushing an already conservative party much further to the right and bringing into it a vast number of new members who are highly energized and deeply ideological, but very inexperienced at politics and not very knowledgeable about how Congress operates on a day-to-day basis.

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