The Cycle | December 03, 2012
>>> until our gradual slide down the fiscal slope. this is no debt ceiling debacle of 2011 . this time the president's acting tough.
>> i'm s.e. cupp. if this is the president's starting offer, it's far from the finish line . i have an idea. the republicans should take it?
>> what do diaper cakes and hard-boiled eggs have des moinin mind?
>> i'm krystal ball or am i. they're closer to ever to concrete the human brain . the possibilities are endless.
>> all of that, and plus did i just see hillary clinton 's first campaign ad ? i hope so. it's just another manic monday. it's "the cycle."
>> i'm glad to see america's favorite nerd is back at the table. welcome, steve . i hope you feel better.
>> that's nice about you.
>> i wasn't talking about myself. 1823 , silent films star harold lloyd gave us a thrilling moment in american history . here it is.
>> there was no computer generated special effects back then. that was a literal cliff-hanger, and 90 years later it keeps you on the edge of your seat. the literal cliff-hanger is what we have in congress right now. there's little to no doubt we'll avoid doomsday, but for a while we hang over the aabyss in a daredevil stunt of our own making. this makes americans believe congress is a bunch of big, fat liars. when it comes to honesty, congress ranked so low they're second to used car salesmen. it's a fee even harold lloyd wouldn't attempt to pull off in exchange for an over climactic conclusion. today we debay tut the wheel of fortune style. we use it to determine how to refer to the debate. cliff, slope, fiesta or follies. today we go to fiscal fiesta. are you ready for this fiesta party?
>> i'm thrilled and very excited, yes. i wish i had a party the hat and a little horn , you know.
>> your enthusiastic is infectious.
>> we'll fedex it right now. michael, so far gop leaders are denying an abc report the party is planning a doomsday plan that would allow a vote on extending middle class tax cuts and nothing more by simply voting present. what have you heard and what's the likelihood that would happen?
>> well, i think it's still -- it's sort of the formative stage, and it's not clear when it's going to happen. to me it reflects what is a clear rereality, which is that the status quo favors the democrats and the republicans are finding a way to deal with this. democrats have the upper hand in the default scenario, and republicans , i think, know it's a loser for them to hold middle class tax cuts hostage essentially in the name of keeping taxes low on upper income earners. this is a way to try to muddle through it without being seen to hold up middle class tax cuts , which is a big political loser for them.
>> hold on for a second. house republicans released their counteroffer to avert the fiscal cliff. now it's really a fiscal fiesta. since it's a party we called in luke russert who emerged from a briefing. what's on the table?
>> reporter: good afternoon, toure. big news here on capitol hill . we talked about being in a stalemate recently in terms of the fiscal cliff. house speaker john boehner and along with the rest of the leadership has presented an offer to the white house in a letter sent today based off something boles said to the supercommittee last year. you see the offer on the screen. 800 billion through tax reform , 600 billion in health savings , 300 billion in mandatory savings , 300 billion further discretionary savings . it nets to a total of $2.2 trillion in savings . what does it mean? in the letter we know the sticking point is the tax rates . the speaker says, quote, notably the new revenue in the boles plan would not be achieved through higher tax rates , which we continue to oppose and will not agree in order to protect small businesses and our economy. instead new revenue would be generated through pro-growth tax reforms that closes special interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates. you see in this latest proposal while they offer up pour savings by saying, look, we can tax the rich people through the $800 billion figure. we can find more savings in entitlements reforms and more savings in discretionary spending more so than the budget control act. they're still holding firm on that pledge not to raise the tax rates towards the bill clinton era. how will this play around in the white house ? we don't know. this tax rate point has been a very difficult sticking point. both sides have stayed on and they continue to stay on this in their second offer. what you see is some sort of possible framework for a large scale deal. the $2.2 trillion number, republicans are the first to tell you is bigger than $1.6 trillion the democrats outlined last week. they believe from discussions that have occurred over the last few years in regards to the debt limit and simpson-boles and in regards to the budget control act other biden talks with eric cantor there is some way forward . this is their blueprint for it. the wonks get deep in the policy. we asked questions in the briefing about that. i asked about the further discretionary savings , 300 billion, about what type of programs are included that. the house progressive caucus is hesitant to cut anything like food stamps that have been on the chopping block before. they say there's a caps that house committees would agree to. what we see from this offer is the speaker saying, look, we can do big savings , we can do a down payment to get us through until next year and then have congress work on a bipartisan way to have a bigger agreement. one other sticking point here, this sequester is not identified in this proposal. so what does that mean? all those defense cuts we heard so much about, essentially the answer is there's enough savings in this plan that could -- that we could deal with the sequester, saying there could be a punt on the sequester by the savings on this plan. there's a lot of information in here. it's very wonky. obviously, this is drawn out between the geithner and lou and boehner's people, but we see a new offer from speaker john boehner that he is not the house republican budget. they're trying to move more to the middle, and they believe this is the best way to do so, guys.
>> on that $600 billion in health savings , do we have any clarity on what that would be? bahama ca obama care, medicare, medicaid?
>> from the briefing it pertains to medicare and medicaid . the one specific thing we got is part of the health savings in the $600 billion mark would come from raising the medicare entry age from 65 to 67. something that the house republicans have talked about before. that is very much a big part of that 600 billion in health savings .
>> thanks, luke russert , on the hill for breaking it down. let's go back to michael crowley . steve wants to get wonky with you.
>> i haven't looked closely at this. what jumps out is the difference between obama saying he wants 1.6 trillion revenue and republicans say 800 billion in revenue. as luke said, not giving in on the issue of raising tax rates . they hold out this promise of tax reforms with loopholes and deductions. i don't know exactly how they arrive at that. it strikes me when you think back to 2010 when obama went along with extending the bush tax cuts for two more years. he was adamant back then, this is it and i'm doing it for two more years and i'm going to run for re-election and make them go away for rich americans. that's not acceptable to the white house , $800 billion from so-called tax reform .
>> well, steve , i mean, you put it sole well i don't know how to improve on that. that's my first reaction, is that the absence of any l giving any ground on the rates mean we haven't moved that far here. i think that that's the key sticking point here. you know, as a matter of -- a lot of what's happening here is a duel in public opinion and the media, who looks like they're reaching out and who gets blamed if things get ugly. i think the republicans are trying to put a veneer of specificity to look like they're -- i think obama did a good job in the last several days saying republicans rntd putting anything the on the table. they're trying to check that box, but the absence of any give on the rates just doesn't really move us that much closer. i also wonder on that $800 billion number without knowing what they say exactly, are they assuming any new revenue from economic growth ? as you know, steve , republicans often like to assume you're going to get more tax revenue through reforms because the economy will grow and bring more ruf new into the coughers. that's not a mainstream economic opinions depending on how you break it down. the white house has problems with a number based on that premise. i heard in language luke quoted, i thought i heard talk about pro-growth revenue. that sounds a bell with me wondering how are republicans counting it. that's a potential point of conflict. the rates are an issue here.
>> michael, on the one hand it's good. republicans needed to come out with some specifics, democrats were right. we can't talk about spending cuts and entitlement cuts when republicans haven't offered anything. maybe we can get specifics in this. i want to go back to the president's original offer. i think not only was it sort of criticized for what was in it or rather what wasn't in it in terms of significant or substantive spending cuts but also for the timing. there simply isn't enough time to start all the way over there and try and argue toward the middle. i'm wondering and i don't want to trivialize this, i actually mean it. what would have happened if republicans had taken the offer and said, great. if that's what you want, we'll sign off, and then watch the president and democrats have to decide do we really want this kind of package, or do you want to go more for a balanced package that we talked about and then they have to walk it back themselves to the middle?
>> well, you know, that's an interesting question. they made that initial deal or that public offer last week without any expectation that republicans were going to take it. i suppose there's a strategy in basketball, you know. a guy -- you're defending a player and he's leaning into you and step back and he falls back down on the ground. republicans could try some variation of that. i guess what you suggest is really interesting. i don't know how it would play out. i think that obama 's offer was not particularly realistic. we see to some degree a response to the last round of negotiations are obama felt like he moved to the middle too early. he didn't really get that much out of it. he's drawing a line pretty far out to the edge there. you know, there are also conversations happening back and forth that don't always reflect everything in public. a lot of what we see right now is jockeying for advantage in the media and battle of public opinion . people getting public opinion leverage. that white house offer was part of that as well.
>> michael crowley , talk about big man moves. i had you as a shooting guard and stay outside and not get caught in the fray.
>> what are you saying, toure?
>> nothing at all. sports talk . thank you, michael crowley .
>> thank you so much.
>> if you liked 2012 you'll love 2016 . i've said it all along, and i have more evidence hillary clinton will be the next president of the united states . we're spinning on that as "the cycle" rolls on for monday, december