Increasing Tax Rates On 98% Of Americans-- Republican Party Deranged Hostage Taking
Last summer Reid thought it might take Vice President Biden to break the tie and help Democrats pass an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the first $250,000 of income for everyone. With Biden presiding, it passed 51-48 without his vote, only Joe Lieberman and Jim Webb from the Democratic side of the aisle joining every single Republican to oppose it. Then Cantor and Boehner refused to even let the House consider it. So now we'll on the verge on tax rates going up on everyone. It shouldn't be, but this has been swept up into the definition of the terrorist tactic our political, media and economic elites are using when they say "FISCAL CLIFF."
With a small but growing number of Republicans in the House acknowledging that their party should stop holding middle class families hostage on behalf of millionaires and billionaires, House Democrats are going to try a tactic to force a vote that rarely works-- a discharge petition that would force Boehner and Cantor to allow a vote. The Campaign Finance Reform Act, since mooted by the corporate Supreme Court, passed because of a successful discharge petition, and the NRA used the process successfully in 1985 to turn back progress on gun control. Friday Nancy Pelosi said she will try using it to force a vote on saving middle class tax cuts. For the gambit to work, Pelosi would have to get every single Democrat to sign on-- including anti-family Democrats who vote overwhelmingly with the GOP like Blue Dogs Dan Boren (OK), Mike Ross (AR), John Barrow (GA), Jim Matheson (UT), Collin Peterson (MN), Jim Costa (CA), Jason Altmire (PA), Mike McIntyre (NC), Ben Chandler (KY) and Joe Donnelly (IN)-- and then persuade two dozen Republicans to buck their leadership, not just Boehner and Cantor but Norquist and Limbaugh.
My bet is that Pelosi won't even get Tom Cole (R-OK) to sign the petition, even though he said he favors passing an extension of tax breaks for the middle class. That was either gutsy of him-- or a Boehner-approved trial balloon-- but Tom Cole would never break with the leadership on anything this consequential. I would guess the best Pelosi could do would be to win maybe a half dozen Republicans-- Tim Johnson (IL), Walter Jones (NC), Chris Gibson (NY), maybe Ron Paul (TX), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA), Charlie Bass (NH), John Campbell (CA), Frank LoBiondo (NJ) and if you really want to stretch, Dave Reichert (WA), Bob Dold (IL), Chris Smith (NJ), Steven LaTourette (OH), Charlie Dent (PA) and Nan Hayworth (NY). The italicized names are lame ducks who won't have to worry about the wrath of the leadership. But to go beyond this handful-- basically just enough to balance out Blue Dog defections-- the only way it could happen would be if Boehner does a wink-and-nod routine (which is what Lawrence O'Donnell thinks is happening-- see the video below). I don't see that happening despite the fact that if the GOP causes tax rates to rise for the middle class, they could lose control of the House in 2014... if people remember.