Now that the election is over and the lame duck Congress has been convened, you would expect a flurry of activity since Congress had basically checked out in August to be home campaigning, right? Well, several weeks into the lame duck session and we really have had no substantial legislation taken up by either the House or Senate. Instead, the President, congressional Republicans and Democrats have been negotiating in public for the extension of the Bush tax cuts and avoiding the “fiscal cliff,” a $1.2 trillion budget cut created as part of the deal cut last year to raise the debt ceiling.
The President released his plan to avoid the fiscal cliff, calling for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue, reached primarily by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the top two tax brackets; a permanent extension of the nation’s debt ceiling and an additional $600 billion in spending cuts that were not specifically identified. Congressional Republicans called the proposal “laughable” and claimed the President was over-interpreting his mandate after winning reelection.