Dan Amira at New York Magazine:
“I’m trying to catch my breath so I don’t refer to this maneuver going on today as chicken crap, all right? But this is nonsense, all right?” —House Minority Leader John Boehner, on the Democrats’ holding a vote today to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts only for families making less than $250,000 or individuals making less than $200,000.
Patricia Murphy at Politics Daily:
The source of Boehner’s ire was a House vote earlier Thursday that will prevent Republicans from offering their own bill to make all of the Bush tax cuts permanent for all Americans, including the highest earners, when the full chamber considers the middle-class cuts later in the day. The House voted 213 to 203 to vote only on the middle-class tax proposal, with 32 Democrats voting with the Republicans to keep the process open.
Earlier, Rep. David Drier (R-Calif.), who offered the Republican alternative, called the Democrats’ plans to vote only on their bill “a joke.”
“I think it’s very evident that this House could, with a majority vote, ensure that we don’t increase taxes on any Americans during these very troubling, difficult economic times,” Drier said. “The fact of the matter is that any member of this House that votes in favor of the measure before us is voting for a tax increase. They are voting in favor of increasing taxes on American businesses and investors.”
There are 238,781 households in John Boehner’s district. There are 2,824 of them with an income above $200,000. That’s 1.1 percent. And that 1.1 percent is too large, as many of those people make between $200,000 and $250,000, and so every dollar of their income will be eligible for the tax cuts the Democrats are pushing.
So in all likelihood, what separates a tax cut bill that’s “chicken crap” from a tax cut bill that’s great is its treatment of the richest 1 percent of households in Boehner’s district. And $700 billion slapped right onto the deficit. If Republicans win this debate despite the unpopularity of their position and its violent contradiction to their stated concern for the deficit, it’ll be one of the most impressive coups in recent political memory.
Brian Beutler at Talking Points Memo:
Brace yourself for some procedural jargon: Dems once believed they were faced with two mixed options for holding this vote. The first was to hold an up-or-down vote under the normal rules. But that would give Republicans the opportunity to introduce what’s known as a motion to recommit — a procedural right of the minority that would have allowed them to tack an extension of tax cuts for high-income earners on to the legislation.
The second option — suspending the rules — would have foreclosed on that right, but would have required a two-thirds majority of the House for passage: 290 votes, an impossible hurdle.
But Democrats figured out a way to avoid this. They’re attaching their tax cut plan as an amendment to a separate bill [the Airport and Airway Extension Act, to wit]. That legislation already passed the House, and has just been returned from the Senate. The rules say it can’t be recommitted. So the GOP’s hands are tied.
“The election was month ago,” Boehner said. “We’re 23 months from the next election and the political games have already started trying to set up the next election.”
“To roll this vote out really is just — it’s what you think I was going to say anyway.” In other words, “chickencrap.”
Now, Dems did make an end run around the normal rules — because there was no other way they could get their preferred tax cut plan passed. But this really is the purest way to address the question of who in Congress would say no to tax cuts for everybody unless rich people get an extra cherry on top.
David Dayen at Firedoglake:
Apparently, John Boehner described the procedural maneuvering as chicken crap today. Keep that in mind when the Republican House under him engages in exactly the same technique. I think the Dems showed the way to neutralize the motion to recommit permanently.
Oh, and the motion to recommit itself is chicken crap. It allows the minority party to spring a vote on the opposition, with no warning, without needing to show the legislative language in advance, and attach it to a bill under regular order. I don’t really like the iron-fisted rules of the House and think they could loosen them up a bit, but the motion to recommit is really obstructionist garbage, and it should be neutralized.
Let’s just state the obvious: He means “chickenshit,” or wimpy. Because Democrats probably have the votes to pass this, the way they definitely had the votes to “deem and pass” the health care bill in March, before Republicans called out that strategy as a wimpy end-run around an up-or-down vote on the bill. Boehner is also right. This is chickenshit. It gives House Democrats a “victory” that wouldn’t mean anything in the Senate, even if it benefited House Democrats running in 2012.