By Teresa Welsh |
Abraham Lincoln once said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Lincoln could have been describing the current U.S. House of Representatives. Tuesday night, House Speaker John Boehner and GOP budget guru Rep. Paul Ryan voted for the tax compromise while Majority leader, Eric Cantor and the Republican whip, Kevin McCarthy voted against a bipartisan bill which would have prevented a tax increase on 98 percent of the public. If Cantor and McCarthy had had their way, taxes for everybody would have gone up and the stock market would have gone done. Congress's job approval rating would have got even lower than it is now. How low can congressional approval go anyway?
Something is stinking in the party of Lincoln. Republicans used to be the self-styled party of fiscal responsibility but Cantor and most of his caucus voted against a plan that would extend lower income tax rates for almost every American. The only people not to get a tax cut were the small number of individuals who make more than $400,000 a year and families who make more than $450 million.
Cantor didn't like the bill but many liberal Democrats who voted for the bill didn't like it either. Progressives voted for a bill that makes permanent the Bush income tax rate cuts for people between $200,000 and $400,000 a year while it forces working families to pay higher payroll taxes. The liberal Democrats sucked it up and voted yes because they didn't want the country to go over the fiscal cliff. Most House Republicans voted to protect their budget buddies rather than supporting an effort that would preserve the nation's fiscal integrity.
So Barack Obama won this battle to keep the country fiscally afloat but the bell for round 2 will ring around Valentine's Day when the debates on the debt limit and budget cuts get hot and heavy. John Boehner will not get a card, candy, or flowers from Eric Cantor. However, working families will get some love from Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.
About Brad Bannon President of Bannon Communications Research
Ron Bonjean Former Chief of Staff for the Senate Republican Conference