In a late press conference after his 3pm meeting with congressional leaders, President Obama offered an ultimatum to Republicans – pass a bipartisan compromise bill or he will instruct Senate Majority Leader Reid to put a bill on the Senate floor that will make anyone voting against it look responsible for the horrors of the fiscal cliff.
From USA Today:
President Obama said Friday the Senate will try to put together a plan this weekend to avoid the tax hikes and budget cuts that kick in next week with the so-called “fiscal cliff.”…
If the Senate can’t agree on a plan this weekend, Obama said he will ask Reid to simply put a bare-bones plan on the floor that would stop tax hikes for the middle class. Obama’s plan would extend unemployment benefits due to expire, as well as the George W. Bush tax cuts for Americans who make less than $250,000 a year.
Such a move would presumably pressure Republicans into signing off, or be blamed if the nation goes over the cliff.
“We should let everybody vote,” Obama said. “That’s the way this is supposed to work.”
It is worth keeping in mind looking bad has not stopped the Republicans before nor are those interested in not looking bad in control of the party anymore (as evidenced by the Plan B vote). So don’t be surprised if Senate Republicans filibuster said bill or it dies in the House. The House will not even be in session until Sunday evening.
And there is also an annoying procedural issue commonly referred to as the blue slip problem as according to congressional procedure all tax and spending bills must originate in the House and can not originate in the Senate. So even if Obama gets his first choice – the wonderful Senate compromise bill – it will have to go through the House first. Which clarifies that Obama would have Reid put the “basic plan” bill on the Senate floor simply to make Republicans look bad given that if it even passed the Senate the entire process would have to restart in the House.
President Obama will be going on Meet The Press Sunday to discuss his proposal.