PHOENIX, December 21, 2012 ― House Speaker John Boehner’s Plan B to avert the fiscal cliff was shelved last night. Boehner cited failure to garner enough Republican votes for passage in the House. This was good news for the Republican Party and conservative movement, as Plan B included a major tax hike on those earning more than $1 million per year and would have shown GOP to be party of sellouts.
Boehner’s allies have mislead Americans all week, claiming that Plan B would not raise taxes, rather extend the tax cuts set to expire at the start of next year.
That really isn’t true at all. Boehner is still raising taxes on Americans, they just happen to be a smaller group of Americans. It’s against the Republican Party low-tax platform.
Plan B failed Thursday, because Boehner asked Republicans to break the very framework of the party in return for nothing: no spending cuts, no entitlement reforms. Just a large tax hike.
Republican rank and file will now blame the conservative wing of the party for failing to extend tax cuts, ultimately going off the fiscal cliff.
The establishment loved Boehner’s Plan B, as it would have potentially put Senate Democrats in a tougher position than they’re currently in. Establishment Republicans felt passing Plan B was a way to gain leverage over President Obama and Senate Democrats, as they could make the argument that they voted to extend tax cuts and it was the Democrats who didn’t pass it.
That assessment isn’t a verifiable reality. What Boehner’s plan really showed is that he would rather compromise on profound Republican principles than get blamed for the likelihood of going over the cliff.
Senate Democrats and President Obama had already declared that Boehner’s Plan B dead on arrival. So why move forward with it? It only gave the Democrats more ammunition to claim that Republicans drove the nation off the cliff and voted to raise taxes.
Republicans need to accept that their party is going to be blamed whether we go off the fiscal cliff or not. The latest polls have shown it and so did the November election. CNN’s poll out this week shows that 48 percent of Americans would blame the Republican Party if the country went over the fiscal cliff, while only 37 percent would blame President Obama.
It’s absurd for Boehner to think that waiving spending cuts and entitlement reforms until next year will actually result in a serious deficit-reduction bill from the Democrats, who have even called for more stimulus spending in their fiscal cliff proposals.
The biggest drivers of our deficit by far are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Now Boehner wants Republicans to go on record for supporting a tax hike without significant deficit reduction? Blatant absurdity.
Thankfully, the few conservative House Republicans are standing united against Boehner’s inane fiscal cliff bills, showing Thursday that they were not prepared to compromise on their principles.
When Boehner benched Reps. Justin Amash, Tim Huelskamp, David Schweikert, and Walter Jones from their top budget committees, he likely felt the conservative opposition would diminish. Little did he know then that he’d face 21 conservative House Republicans voting against an alternative to the pending defense sequester Thursday. This was the shot heard around the world, as it showed to Boehner conservatives were not ready to cave to higher taxes.
For the House to pass Plan B would require 217 votes. The bill that passed yesterday only garnered 215, with those 21 conservative Republicans defecting. This vote was likely what triggered Boehner to delay voting on “Plan B” until after Christmas. Boehner doesn’t have the votes.
Withal, the Republican Party needs a leader to stand on the principals that have kept this party alive. It’s come to the realization that if the country goes over the fiscal cliff, John Boehner will remain speaker. If Obama gets his wish of raising taxes, Boehner will become the former Speaker of the House.
Speaker Boehner, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything and kill any hope that remains alive in the Republican Party.
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