Boehner: Gone in 51 Seconds

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 19 2012 2:41 PM

Boehner: Gone in 51 Seconds

John Boehner's "press conference" on the fiscal cliff started at 12:15:00 p.m. At 12:15:11, he characterized the White House's latest "cliff" offer as "$1.3 trillion of revenue to $850 billion in spending reductions," which "fails to meet the test that the president offered the American people." At 12:15:30, he said that Republicans would vote tomorrow to restore top tax rates on only the top $1 million of income, affecting 0.19 percent of taxpayers. Obama, said Boehner, could "call on the Senate Democrats to pass that bill, or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in American history." At 12:51:51, he was finished, walking away from microphones as reporters shouted "come back!"

The "Plan B" tax plan, which has been sold to Republicans for roughly 30 hours, does nothing to the cuts mandated by sequestration. It's a gigantic punt, one with largely PR implications -- blaming Democrats, not Republicans, for a standoff and a 2013 recession. Republicans are fairly, disturbingly confident that today's polls are (to borrow a word) skewed, and that economic damage will be blamed on the president. As one Republican told me recently, voters would not look at a bad economy and call it the "House Republican recession." They'd call it the Obama recession.


So, why is Boehner promising the vote tomorrow? Because it's not clear that "Plan B" can pass. At 3 p.m., Tim Huelskamp and other House Republicans will appear at the National Press Club to denounce "Plan B." Steny Hoyer, the Democratic whip, has promised to whip his conference against Plan B. If that holds, Republicans can only afford to lose 22 votes and narrowly pass the plan. (In the next Congress, they can only afford to lose 16 votes.) This is yet another bluff, one that suggests a real artery clog in "cliff" talks.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

The Ludicrous Claims Women Are Pitched at “Egg Freezing Parties”

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
Oct. 1 2014 1:11 PM This Company Wants to Fight World Hunger With Flies 
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 1:01 PM Can Activists Save Reyhaneh Jabbari?  
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 1:13 PM The Essence of Gender Roles in Action Movies, in One Supercut
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 12:01 PM Rocky Snow
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.