Today in Fiscal Cliff News

by Daniel Foster

1) Erskine Bowles is disowning the counteroffer John Boehner says he inspired. Here’s Bowles’ statement:

While I’m flattered the Speaker would call something “the Bowles plan,” the approach outlined in the letter Speaker Boehner sent to the President does not represent the Simpson-Bowles plan, nor is it the Bowles plan. In my testimony before the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, I simply took the mid-point of the public offers put forward during the negotiations to demonstrate where I thought a deal could be reached at that time.

The Joint Select Committee failed to reach a deal, and circumstances have changed since then. It is up to negotiators to figure out where the middle ground is today. Every offer put forward brings us closer to a deal, but to reach an agreement, it will be necessary for both sides to move beyond their opening positions and reach agreement on a comprehensive plan which avoids the fiscal cliff and puts the debt on a clear downward path relative to the economy.

Well, sure, that’s fair as far as it goes. But it’s still the case that Bowles once endorsed, or quasi-endorsed, something close to what Boehner just offered.

2) Nancy Pelosi will attempt to force a House vote on a bill that would preserve Bush tax rates for people making less than $250,000, while allowing the lower rates on “the rich” to expire. She’s going to do it via what’s called a “discharge petition” — a tack we last heard about when there were (bipartisan!) discharge petitions in the then-Democratically-controlled House to stop Obamacare. The move isn’t expected to work, as it would require a couple dozen Republicans to sign on.

3) Rand Paul joins the list of Republicans unhappy with John Boehner’s approach. Via the senator’s Facebook:

One party proposes 800 billion in tax increases. In an effort to counter them and continue to be the “low tax, small government” party, the other party’s leadership proposes….wait for it…800 billion in tax increases.

As my good friend Jim DeMint says, if you are speeding toward a cliff at 80mph, putting on the cruise control is not really a viable solution.

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