Is Boehner Willing To Negotiate On Tax Cuts?
From the party that was willing to take the country hostage during their debt ceiling brinksmanship, that has responded to the election of our first black president with a record amount of obstruction, and from a man who wasn’t even willing to allow the word “compromise” to be used when talking about negotiating with Democrats, now House Speaker John Boehner wants us to believe he’s willing to negotiate in good faith on those tax cuts that are going to expire next year.
Which of course means give us all of our tax cuts for the rich or nothing. Lawrence O’Donnell’s been advocating for just allowing them to expire and force them to go over the fiscal cliff so the Republicans can actually negotiate in good faith since they’ll no longer be beholden to Grover Norquist’s no new taxes pledge and they’ll get something passed withing the first few weeks of the year. Watching the Republicans in action and given what they’ve been like to deal with over the last few years, I’d say he’s right.
The Republicans have become Lucy with the football when it comes to trying to negotiate with them on anything and Boehner can’t even control his own caucus. I think there’s a good chance Boehner will end up going down in history as the worst Speaker of the House of the most unpopular Congress, ever, and for good reason.
Transcript via Fox below the fold.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, nice to see you, sir.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Greta, good to be with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, Senate voted yesterday. So what is your plan here in the House?
BOEHNER: Well, the House next week will vote to stop the looming tax hike scheduled to take effect on January the 1st. The president’s plan would cost about 700,000 new jobs that wouldn’t be created or could be lost by taxing small businesses.
The House will not do that. The House will extend all of the existing tax rates. We’ve got 8 percent unemployment. We’ve got 41 months of it. This is not the time — the time to be raising taxes on American small businesses.
VAN SUSTEREN: Will there be any deals made down the road, like, people who make more than $5 million or something, I mean, the big numbers, the bigger numbers than a million, at some point in order to get a deal?
VAN SUSTEREN: Or is this no? Or is this an absolutely no tax hike as to anybody?
BOEHNER: This is not the time to be raising taxes on small business owners. So we are not going to do it.
VAN SUSTEREN: That means nobody, no way, never, ever…
BOEHNER: We are going to pass our bill next week. The Senate passed what I’ll call an unconstitutional bill. All tax bills have to start in the House. And we would hope they would take up the House-passed bill.
VAN SUSTEREN: You say they hope they’ll take it up, but you’re going to pass your bill next week. You have the numbers. That’s clear. It’s then goes over to the Senate. You don’t expect the Senate to adopt your bill, do you?
BOEHNER: Wouldn’t look that way, but hope springs eternal.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. So then where does that leave the American taxpayer? You’re sort of at loggerheads with two different bills, very different bills.
BOEHNER: As the president would remind me from to time, that’s what elections are for. But American taxpayers shouldn’t have to wait until after the election to know what the tax rates are going to be for next year. In addition to that, the Alternative Minimum Tax for 2012 has not been extended.
And so instead of having the four million Americans affected by the Alternative Minimum Tax in January, it’ll be 30 million Americans. And you want to see a real tax increase, this is about a $4 trillion tax increase if we don’t come to an agreement on this bill.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, that leaves everybody sort of sputtering, trying to decide what to do because it’s not going to happen either until the lame duck session or sometime into January.
You know, everyone — so we’re all on hold. Is there any way — let me give you a suggestion. How about calling up Senator Harry Reid and President Obama and say, We got — we got this August recess, everybody. Let’s try to do something now so this prediction for the small business people, and every American…
BOEHNER: We’ve been making this case all year that we ought to extend all of the current tax rates. It’s an issue in the presidential campaign. There’s no reason to wait. I’m ready, willing and able to sit down with the president or Harry Reid tomorrow and to resolve this issue for the American people.
VAN SUSTEREN: So if they would agree to give up August and to sit down here and everyone put his nose to the grindstone…
BOEHNER: Well, I…
VAN SUSTEREN: … you’re game?
BOEHNER: I’d be happy to do it.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what’s the problem? I mean, like, you know, why can’t this — I mean, get this resolved…
BOEHNER: Greta, Greta…
VAN SUSTEREN: … because we sit and watch.
BOEHNER: Greta, the founders gave us this system of government. It may not be perfect, but it really does work better than anyplace else in the world. And the American people gave us divided government. You know, Republicans control the House. Democrats control the Senate. Democrats control the White House. And so we’ve got a recipe here for being at loggerheads.
But I think it’s our job — even though we may have some very strong opinions, and opposite opinions, our job is still to find common ground and to do our best for the American people. But you can’t — you can’t do the tango by yourself. You’ve got to have a willing partner, and I’ve not had a willing partner.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, well, it — a couple things. One is that, you know, leadership, you know, the three leaders, the House, the Senate and the White House — they have a tough job — I realize the loggerheads, I realize the divided government. But that still is sort of what leaders need to do. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is that we know it can be done because every time you all get pushed up against a deadline, that suddenly, burning the midnight oil, there’s some deal cut, something happens. We just don’t have that deadline right now. And so the business people and the American people sort of sit on the sidelines month after month after month, hoping for some guidance.
BOEHNER: That’s why I don’t want to wait. We don’t need to be up against a deadline in order to act. But if I can’t get Harry Reid to sit down and negotiate, or the president to sit down and negotiate, I’m not going to sit here and negotiate with myself.
VAN SUSTEREN: The bill in the Senate essentially adds about — it’s enough to finance the government for eight days, approximately, the — letting the tax rate go back to where it was for people who make over $250,000 a year.
Any thoughts on how we’re going to fund the other 357 dollars — 357 days out of the year? Because that’s only eight days.
BOEHNER: Well, listen, this is why we need to extend all the current tax rates because you’re just kidding yourself. The American people don’t need to be paying higher taxes at a time when our economy is not doing well.
You know, the president is out there running around, campaigning, avoiding sitting down with his own jobs council. He hasn’t met with them for over six months. And if you look at the report that the president’s jobs council put out, guess what? It supports many of the ideas that we’ve passed in House and sent over to the Senate.
VAN SUSTEREN: But a meeting with the jobs council doesn’t really get us anywhere. He needs to meet with Senator Harry Reid and with you and work something out. The jobs council can’t implement policy or law.
BOEHNER: We’ve got 30 bills sitting over in the United States Senate that would help our — get our economy moving again and get the American people back to work.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there — do you ever talk to the president? Does he ever call you up or say, you know, Let’s work this out? Or are you able to call him?
BOEHNER: I guess I could, but I haven’t heard from the president in months.
VAN SUSTEREN: What — do you…
BOEHNER: He’s busy campaigning!
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, why…
BOEHNER: He doesn’t have time to call me!
VAN SUSTEREN: Why don’t you give him a call? Maybe just as a lark that he’ll return your call and say, Yes, that’s a good idea. Let’s work…
BOEHNER: I’m sure — I’m sure he’ll be polite enough to return the call. And I — sure, I can call him.
VAN SUSTEREN: How about Senator Harry Reid? I mean, because I — there are bills, I understand, that are stalled over at the Senate. Some, they think, are just sort of political salvos that you send over there, but some are bills that really need to be discussed and debated and resolved. Does he have — does he ever talk to you?
BOEHNER: I do talk to Senator Reid more often, and our staffs talk pretty regularly about trying to move things through this process. It’s a very difficult process that the founders gave us. But my job is to keep it moving on behalf of the American people.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what — what’s your prediction of what’s actually going to happen? Take me through this tax bill. I mean, where are we going to end up?
BOEHNER: Well, it doesn’t look to me likely that anything will get accomplished before the election. It’s unfortunate, but I just don’t see any willingness on the part of the Democrat-controlled Senate or President Obama to try to resolve this issue before then.
VAN SUSTEREN: If it’s done, though, in the lame duck session — and I realize that the deadline for the taxes going up is the first of the year – - if it’s done in a lame duck, then elections really don’t count that much because there will be people voting on behalf of the American people who have been removed from office or retiring or whatever.
So we’ll get a lot of — we have the lame duck people, people who will not be answering to the American people.
BOEHNER: Well, that is the case. It’s unfortunate that we’re — we would be in that position. That’s why we ought to be doing it now. There’s no reason to wait.
Thanks to Crooks and Liars for the report and transcription.