Hello, and welcome to Political Jungle. Today, we keep the Republicans honest on the filibuster as they do it to themselves. Also, the White House has ruled out the Fourteen Amendment.
We begin with what could be called the most dangerous game of chess in your life, the fiscal cliff. The bump in the road is taxes, as Republicans and Democrats grapple over how much to give up. Democrats claim they have a mandate from the voters to increase taxes on the rich, while Republicans attempt to use the debt ceiling as leverage.
Today, we present to you to two major opinions from Republicans; one can make compromise easier, the other could make it more difficult. The first opinion is that Republicans should concede on taxes for the richest and focus on other topics, such as entitlement reform. The other opinion is that Republicans can use the debt ceiling as leverage, President Obama in his proposal outlined an increase in the debt ceiling. Now, the interesting thing is that both of these statements come from Tennessee Senator Bob Corker. Now, while many Republicans have gone with one statement or the other, Sen. Corker has said both. Fellow Senators Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and numerous Republican House members have signaled a willingness to raise taxes on the top 2%.
We continue now with the Constitution. In the 14 amendment, there is a line that the validity of the debt should not be questioned. Democrats argue that the amendment effectively makes the debt ceiling unconstitutional. Some believed that the White House would use that in the event of no deal during the debt ceiling negotiations last year. However, they are now, like they did last year, ruling out the 14 amendment. The news comes from White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Finally, news is coming out of the White House that Speaker John Boehner came to the White House and met with President Obama privately. Neither the White House nor the Speaker’s office is commenting on the office.
We move on to the filibuster, as Democrats signal that they are working to get Republicans on board for filibuster reform. Recently, there have been two high-profile filibusters. The first was from Sen. Rand Paul, who filibustered a bipartisan defense bill. His filibuster, which held up the authorization bill, was blasted by Sen. John McCain. Sen. McCain, who was trying to use the bill as evidence that the Senate can work together, then said that the filibuster gave the Democrats “credence” to their efforts to reform the filibuster. Returning and freshman Democratic Senators are trying to reform the filibuster, removing the need for sixty votes to end debate and to work with House and Senate committees. They want to make Senators speak about the bill, as was done in the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, raised eyebrows this week when he filibustered his own bill. Leader McConnell had a bill that would allow the President to raise the debt ceiling on his own, Congress could then reverse the change. The idea came up last year during the debt ceiling negotiations. When the vote came up, Leader McConnell said that bills of their nature needed sixty votes, effectively filibustering his bill.
Well, thank you for joining us on Political Jungle. Remember to join us every week because it’s a jungle out there.