Cliff looms: Kicking the Can, Washington-style

When it comes to the nation's budget challenges, congressional leaders are fond of saying dismissively they don't want to kick the can down the road.
Associated Press
Dec 27, 2012

But now, a deadline hard ahead, even derided half-measures are uncertain as President Barack Obama and lawmakers struggle to avert across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts that comprise an economy-threatening fiscal cliff.

Congressional officials said Wednesday they knew of no significant strides toward a compromise over a long Christmas weekend, and no negotiations have been set.

After conferring on a conference call, House Republican leaders said they remain ready for talks, urged the Senate to consider a House-passed bill that extends all existing tax cuts, but gave no hint they intend to call lawmakers back into session unless the Senate first passes legislation.

"The lines of communication remain open, and we will continue to work with our colleagues to avert the largest tax hike in American history, and to address the underlying problem, which is spending," the leadership said in a statement.

A short while later Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. countered that the House leadership should allow action on a Senate-passed bill that lets income tax rates rise only on incomes above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. The measure could "pass tomorrow" if put to a vote, he said.

The Senate is due in session Thursday, although the immediate agenda includes legislation setting the rules for government surveillance of suspected spies and terrorists abroad, including Americans, as well as a measure providing $60 billion for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Obama decided to cut short his Hawaii vacation for an overnight flight expected to get him back to the White House on Thursday.

Apart from the cliff, other financial challenges loom for divided government, where political brinkmanship has become the norm. The Treasury disclosed during the day it would take accounting measures to avoid reaching the government's borrowing limit of $16.4 trillion by year's end. The changes will provide about two months of additional leeway.

Separately, spending authority for much of the government will expire on March 27, 2013.

After weeks of negotiations, the president urged lawmakers late last week to scale back their ambitions for avoiding the fiscal cliff and send him legislation preventing tax cuts on all but the highest-earning Americans and extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. Longer, term, he said he still supports deficit cuts that were key to the earlier talks.

"Everybody's got to give a little bit in a sensible way," he said at the White House.

The House has no plans to convene, following last week's rebellion in which conservatives torpedoed Speaker John Boehner's legislation to prevent scheduled tax increases on most, while letting them take effect on million-dollar wage earners.

"How we get there, God only knows," the Ohio Republican said of efforts to protect the economy — and taxpayers — from the tax increases and spending cuts.

"Now is the time to show leadership, not kick the can down the road," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said a little over a week ago after Boehner announced he would shift his own focus from bipartisan talks to the approach that eventually was torpedoed by his own rank and file.

It's a phrase that political leaders use when they want to suggest others want to avoid tackling major problems, and one that Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and even Obama as well as Reid have used.

"We have a spending problem. We have to address it, And we're not going to address it by kicking the can down the road," the speaker said at a news conference late last week when he was asked about setting a vote on a plan that Democrats find acceptable.

Cantor recently used the same approach in challenging Obama to agree to savings from Medicare and other benefit programs. "This has to be a part of this agreement or else we just continue to dig the hole deeper, asking folks to allow us to kick the can down the road further and that we don't want to do," he said on Nov. 28.

In fact, it's a phrase that has been in use for over a year as Obama and Republicans jockey for position on pocketbook issues.

In July 2011, when he was struggling with Republicans over the threat of a first-ever government default, Obama said he had "heard reports that there may be some in Congress who want to do just enough to make sure that America avoids defaulting on our debt in the short term. But then wants to kick the can down the road when it comes to solving the larger problem, our deficit."

A few months later, an extension of a payroll tax cut was the issue, and Boehner was insisting on a year-long renewal rather than the temporary plan that passed the Senate with votes from lawmakers in both parties.

"How can you do tax policy for two months?" he asked on Dec. 18, 2011. "I believe that two months is just kicking the can down the road.

"The American people are tired of that."

At issue now is series of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to kick in with the new year that economists caution could send the economy into a recession.




There is nothing like being in a chat room with a bunch of Republicans who cannot see anything but their side of it, is there? Wow, do they all hate everything this badly? I never realized how much they really hate the President and mostly what goes on in this country. It is really a sad thing. They are still mad about the election as well and its OVER for crying out loud. sad is that?


Some people know that you cannot spend what you do not have! RE conserve!!!

(U.S. Fed Govt Debt)

The Big Dog's back

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights) and Libel and defamation.


Shucks, I missed the post before it was pulled. I bet I was a racest yesterday again!

Dr. Information

@mama......So because you see it one way you are the correct one. Oh thats right, I forgot.....whatever the liberals say is right....everyone else must be wrong. Argue with a liberal and you are hateful, racist, un-American,....etc. etc. etc.

I could care less about you whining gasbags. My future is solid, I make my own future. I just feel bad for the middle class who ultimately will be crushed with Obama economics.

Dr. Information

don't forget folks....Obama said in 2008 that gas being 5 dollars a gallon wouldn't be a bad thing, as long as it didn't happen to fast.

The last election was about the vote between the makers and the takers of this flunking nation. The takers are starting to outweigh the makers.

4 billion brought in a day......11 billion spent a day. And you guys are OK with this?

BTW, the CBO and every other banker and lawyer and accountant have already tried to make "taxing the rich" figures work..........IT WONT. It will bring in enough to run the government for about a week -10 days. So who's next? Who will they go after next?

The Big Dog's back

Election is over. The true Americans spoke and re-elected President Obama.


Awesome comeback Big dog, That will show em! After he signed the bill 6 months ago and forgot about it and campaigned instead NOW he is going to buckle down and try to pass somthing to take the place of his previous bill. That last loser who was in office for the last 4 years really left a mess of things didn't he?
By "True americans" Do you mean those who cannot count unless they find the calculator on their free phones?

The Big Dog's back

Lies are a hard thing to have a comeback to.

Dr. Information

Little pup's true American = those that live off the government.

Big Dogg = Socialist/Communist.

Makers vs Takers. Takers are winning.


Lies arent hard to have a comeback for, But those Fact thingys are hard for your type. Try it sometime, You know the whole "I will look this up and get a fact or two before i spew one sentence idiocy" Hope that helps you in the future and the new years eve resolution time is in a couple of hours so try that one for awhile.


even the french realize you can't tax the rich to death!

"France's highest court overturns 75 percent tax on ultrarich"
From ASSOCIATED PRESS just for you putty tat: ny post..saturday edition.


wired, i would like you to give a reasonable answer to this question: your total monthly income is $500 per month and your total monthly expenses are $2000 per month. please explain to me how you can successfully make things work.

this is the situation our fed gov't is in. currently it is spending almost 4 times more per day than it takes in.

Dr. Information

The fact is you can't argue with liberals because most aren't paying in, aren't effected by tax breaks, do not run a business....etc. They are all for change because it won't effect them.

Liberal way of thinking = stick it to everyone else, just don't touch my stuff.
Liberal way of thinking = hard work and success in America means you are a rich, evil person who didn't work hard to get where you did.
Liberal way of thinking = yours is mine, mine is not yours.

Lets go over this cliff like we are riding the Millennium Force at Cedar Point. Hands in the air, gut dropping out......

Im tired of the RICH supporting this faltering country. Its time for EVERYONE to start kicking in and paying their share.



The flaw in that definition of rich is that plenty of families making $250,000 a year don't feel rich. They probably see themselves as upper middle class, especially if they live in blue-state coastal cities and suburbs. An income of $250,000 is a lot richer in Abilene, Texas, than in New York's Nassau County, where it takes $430,000 to enjoy a similar quality of life, according to So let's call them the "working rich."

Published May 2009:


and you democrats can't understand why the gop is so against what the prez is trying to do!!!!!!! GREAT TIMING!!!!!

"With ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Looming: Obama Just Issued Executive Order To Give Federal Employees Pay Raises"

just wondering why all the media outlets aren't putting this out there? what about it SR? don't you want to be a leader?

The Big Dog's back

Good times, these are the good times
Leave your cares behind, these are the good times
Good times, these are the good times
Our new state of mind, these are the good times

Happy days are here again
The time is right for makin' friends
Let's get together, how 'bout a quarter to ten
Come tomorrow, let's all do it again


Yes! GOP looking at SSI. Alan West probably is happy. Told You!

Dr. Information

SSI will dry up if there isn't change. But Curt, I bet you are ok with that right? Philosophy of many.......who cares if it dries up....I'll be dead by then.

So you are ok with all these young people paying in to SSI and not going to get a dime in the end? SSI will dry up by 2030.

Keep kicking that can. Lets go over this cliff.......I want taxes to go up on everyone, not just successful people.


So the towers/pentagon were hit were you one of the people that didn't think that warrented some kind of military action? You one of the folks that want to "hug it out" with those who want to do nothing but destroy our way of life? Get educated, the cost of both wars to date is $1.4T
Today the U.S. Debt = $16.5 trillion with it being projected to reach $20 trillion by 2016.
When President Obama took office in 2009 the U.S. Debt = $9.986 trillion
When President Bush took office in 2001 the U.S. Debt = $5.629 trillion
The U.S. owes more money than any other nation in the history of the world
The U.S. debt is up 54% under President Obama in his first three years
By the end of President Obama's first term the U.S. debt will have increased by a larger amount than under President Bush's entire two-term presidency
Over 60% of all spending is on the "Big Four" - Social Security, Obamacare, Medicaid, and National Defense

So by the math in Bush's 8 years he added just over $4 Trillion ($94 Billion of that on the war on terror).
In Obama's FIRST term he has added $6 Trillion.
So who's really abusing the Country's "credit card" there BIG dog? Your ignorance in every matter that you comment on is aparent throughout this website.
All woof no knowledge.

Dr. Information

Liberals can't do math herbie, They just blame Bush for Obamas failures.