So Here’s the Deal

This is the final deal Reid and McConnell negotiated:

The government will be funded until January 15.  The debt ceiling is raised until February 7.

There will be income verification for those getting subsidies under Obamacare.

There will be yet another committee appointed to negotiate a budget for the rest of the fiscal year that ends September 30, 2014.  It must report back by December 13.  Good luck with that.

Treasury is allowed to use “extraordinary measures” to delay hitting the new debt ceiling.  They’ve been using such measures this time around since May, when they technically ran out of money.

Agency heads don’t have flexibility to move money around to deal with the sequester.

The Senate will vote first.  Boehner has indicated he will bring it to the floor of the House even if it’s not supported by a majority of the GOP majority.  We should be able to get both houses to vote and the Prez to sign by midnight.

Are We (Almost) There Yet? — Update

President Obama was supposed to meet with Reid, McConnell, Pelosi, and Boehner at the White House at noon.  That meeting has been postponed, so Senate negotiations can continue.  It’s not a bad sign, talks have not collapsed.

Reid says he’s “very optimistic” on a deal this week to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling.  If Reid is happy with the deal, I’ll probably be happy with the deal.

Boehner Re-Elected

John Boehner was re-elected Speaker of the House today with 220 votes.  He needed 218.  Fourteen House members voted either for someone else or simply “present.”

We’ll see how long he lasts.  Given the fights in the next couple of months, no one else really wants the job.

Upon re-election, Boehner immediately called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and told him yet again to go f___ himself.  Ok, I may have made that last part up.

On the Edge

Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden continue to negotiate, with Biden having taken Harry Reid’s place for the Dems.

They have agreed on raising federal income taxes for individuals who make more than $400,000 and families who make more than $450,000.  They have agreed on a permanent fix to the alternative minimum tax, which has been getting annual fixes to keep it from hitting middle class families.

It looks as if the estate tax will rise to 40% from 35% for estates worth $5 million or more.

Unemployment benefits will be extended for a year for about two million Americans who otherwise would lose them starting tomorrow.  The Medicare “doc fix” will be extended for a year, so that doctors accepting Medicare patients don’t see their payments reduced.

They are still negotiating about turning off the sequester to avoid the automatic spending cuts that will begin tomorrow.

It’s Falling Apart

From “‘Major setback’ in fiscal cliff talks,” Manu Raju and John Bresnahan, Politico:

“Negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have suffered a ‘major setback’ after Republicans demanded the inclusion of a new method for calculating entitlement benefits as part of the fiscal cliffpackage, according to Democratic sources.

“The provision, known as ‘chained CPI,’ is opposed by many progressives because it would result in lower payments for Social Security beneficiaries.

“Democrats are objecting to including this as part of the current negotiations on a scaled-down fiscal cliff deal. They say they’ve already given ground on other issues, including raising the threshold for new taxes to around $400,000 annually, as well as showing flexibility on estate taxes, sources said.

“But Republicans are insisting on the ‘chained CPI’ provision in exchange for raising taxes.

“If no deal is reached — and that’s where things stand at the moment — Reid will push a proposal to raise taxes for those families making over $250,000 in income, though Republicans say that stands little chance of passing both chambers before New Year’s Day. With no deal, about $500 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts would take effect in 2013, a double-dose of austerity that could send the economy back into recession.”

The stock market won’t be happy, and when the stock market ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

C-Span to Replace the Late Dick Clark

Reid and McConnell have given themselves a deadline of tomorrow afternoon to come up with a plan, which they intend to present to their respective caucuses around 3 P. M.

If it seems as if they have the votes to pass the thing, there will be a vote on Monday afternoon, and then it goes to the House, and the ball is back in Boehner’s court, where it always seems to get stuck in the net.

I don’t know if there will be funny hats in the House on New Year’s Eve, but there will definitely be a lot of noise makers with R’s after their names.

Anybody remember ever watching C-Span on New Year’s?