Buckle up. During his weekly press conference, House Speaker John Boehner today suggested we may be closer to heading off the fiscal cliff, Thelma and Louise-style.
“I’m not confident at all,” said Boehner, expressing doubt a deal could be reached on the budget by the end of the year deadline. “The Senate at some point has to act,” the speaker said. “And on both of these, where’s the president, where’s the leadership?”
“The House has done its job on both the sequester and the looming tax hikes that will cost our economy some 700,000 jobs,” he added.
If Congress can’t find a solution with President Obama on $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, that would automatically trigger a series of across the board spending cuts and tax hikes in the same amount of $1.2 trillion.
As Lawrence O’Donnell has argued, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing in terms of sorting out the expiring Bush tax cuts — going off the cliff isn’t the same thing as staying off the cliff. That is, unless you’re Grover Norquist, then this would be your biggest nightmare.
Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid appeared to be more optimistic. He said he’s hopeful “some kind of agreement” would be reached after November 6. “I believe that once the elections are over, the tea party’s strength will be significantly weakened.”
As the fiscal crisis looms, Moody’s warned today if the new Congress in the 2013 legislative session doesn’t put the country on a sounder fiscal setting, they plan to downgrade America’s Aaa credit rating.