CLINTON, LBJ, GINGRICH, AND TIP O'NEILL ALL WORKED WITH OTHER PARTY; WEINER, AHMED GUEST COLUMN IN ROLL CALL
WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the Republican and Democratic National Conventions concluded and as the 112th Congress reconvenes this week, former White House spokesman Robert S. Weiner and policy analyst Sadiq Ahmed give John Boehner a window to become "a true statesman, a hero in American history and to his party" if he saves the nation by avoiding sequestration and preventing the country from falling over the fiscal cliff.
The analysis issued yesterday (September 13) in ROLL CALL is titled, Boehner, Hero? If Deals on the 'Fiscal Cliff'.
Weiner and Ahmed state that, "With the conventions over, we now prepare for the real rumble to follow… but Democrats and Republicans in Congress have dug in" to their positions.
The authors maintain that the U.S. "could see its national credit rating drop again as it did during the debt ceiling crisis a year ago" and that the country can tilt over the edge and "actually fall off the so-called fiscal cliff." They point out that, "If the debt ceiling increase is unapproved and the tax cuts expire, watch the distance down in our collective jump."
The authors say that "Boehner can now become a hero in American history, a winner of the Kennedy Profiles in Courage—and a hero to Republicans at the same time who see real danger to their control of the House if there is no deal to run the nation," and they point to certain historical examples of how.
The authors point out that Boehner does not need "a majority of Republicans - for a tax reform-program cuts combination to avoid the Sequester and the fiscal cliff" and that "Democrats could fill in the large part of the majority needed." They point to Bill Clinton's getting NAFTA passed "with a majority of the 234 yes votes coming from Republicans (132), with "enough Democrats (102) to seal the deal." They also assert that, "Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with a higher percent of House Republicans than Democrats voting for it: Democrats: 152–96 (61–39%); Republicans 138–34 (80–20%)."
Weiner and Ahmed say, "In his heart of hearts, even John Boehner knows money does not grow on the trees of tax cuts" and that the Speaker understands compromise. In April, 2011 Boehner told ABC's World News, "The federal government's short on revenues. We need to control spending but we need to have revenues to keep the government moving." The authors point to former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY), Co-Chair of the Simpson-Bowles Fiscal Commission, who said, "If you want to be a purist go somewhere on a mountaintop and praise the East or something. But if you want to be in politics, you learn to compromise."
The authors also point out, "Republicans appear to be concerned only with the $50 billion in sequestration cuts that will come from the Defense Department." They say Republicans, "are pushing to rewrite that part of the law", while Democrats are resisting "any significant changes to the defense sequester requirements if the only current alternative is more cuts to anti-poverty programs."
Weiner and Ahmed point out that, "On November 3, 2011 Boehner said, "I think there's room for revenues…" They maintain that statement "became the latest best hope" for getting something done, but after the "66 member House Tea Party Caucus contingent of his party" challenged him on the premise, he reversed his position saying, "I can tell you it's not in the best interest of our country to raise taxes during this difficult economy."
The authors point out, "The House debt ceiling / sequester vote qualifies as one of the most eclectic grouping of ayes and nays the country has ever witnessed." And that it clearly shows lawmakers with extremely different ideologies came together to either support or oppose the law. "Mortal enemies Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Alan West both voted for it, while Ron Paul and Barney Frank voted against it. Ultra-liberal Sheila Jackson Lee and Veep nominee Paul Ryan were ayes, while Libertarian Ted Poe and Progressive Maxine Waters were nays." The authors maintain that the "diverse voting positions indicate that compromise on the issue is achievable."
Weiner and Ahmed point to examples of two of the more visible Speakers in recent times and how they handled their duties in the top House post. They say, "Tip O'Neill (D-MA), Speaker from 1977 to 1987, often said he built majorities with like-minded lawmakers from both parties," and Newt Gingrich (R-GA), Speaker from 1995 to 1998, made sure that GOP moderates were consulted, and worked with Clinton on budgets and welfare reform. They conclude, "Should Boehner muster the courage to use the bully gavel to save the nation's economy, his legislative legerdemain would become studied in the history books."
Robert Weiner was a senior spokesman in the Clinton White House, the beginning of the Bush Administration, and for Congressmen John Conyers, Charles Rangel, Claude Pepper, and Ed Koch. Sadiq Ahmed is senior political analyst at Robert Weiner Associates and a staff writer for North Star News Media and Solutions for Change.
Contact: Robert Weiner / Sadiq Ahmed 301-283-0821, cell 202-306-1200 [email protected]
SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates; Solutions for Change