House Minority Leader Boehner has acknowledged the bottom line: if the President forces the issue (and Senate Majoirty leader Reid can cobble together 60 votes to overcome a filibuster in the Senate), the President will get his tax increase on higher income Americans (and the estate tax chaos should be solved in the process). A posting at TPM (cannot figure out what the site is all about) says it is “all up to the Prez”. If he presses things and says, “I will veto anything other than a tax increase on the higher earners”, the Republicans will blink first.
The question, however, is how does Obama get a vote on this? The House will not take it up first; they know whatever they do is irrelevant if the Senate does not act. Hence, can the Democrats get a vote in the Senate?
Senate Minority leader McConnell says no. He says all Republicans agree they will not invoke cloture and will allow a filibuster to stand if Majority Leader Reid brings the tax increase to the Senate floor. However, I believe if the President looks them square in the eye and says I will not sign anything else (and I have said before he will likely stand on principle on this), Reid will find enough Republican Senators to allow a vote. For example, Lieberman (supposedly independent) may say he opposes the tax increase. But if it comes to that vote, I believe he will vote for cloture. The reason is when it comes down to it they will not want to be caught voting against a continuation of low rates for 97 percent of taxpayers. Hence, does Reid have the political skills and guts to overcome the filibuster? We shall see. This will get pretty interesting in the next few weeks.
By Kevin Staker