House Democrats passed an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for households earning less than $250,000, 234–188, using a procedural maneuver that prevented Republicans from adding an amendment that would extend the cuts for the wealthy as well. Incoming House Speaker John Boehner was moved to call the strategy "chicken crap." Although public opinion favors the Democrats' position, the House bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate. Was Boehner right to dismiss this ostensibly bold move by the soon-to-be-minority party? (Watch Boehner's comments)
This was procedural abuse: "I heartily endorse Speaker-designate Boehner's new nickname for this bit of "procedural chicanery," says Daniel Foster in National Review. Clearly, Dems were afraid they didn't have enough votes to stop the House from extending all the tax cuts. "If there's a bright spot" here, it's that 28 Democrats voted against the bill.
"'Chicken crap' or, one more bit of procedural chicanery..."
This just exposes GOP hypocrisy: Apparently "what separates a tax cut bill that's 'chicken crap' from a tax cut bill that's great is its treatment of the richest 1 percent of households in Boehner's district," says Ezra Klein in The Washington Post. What's amazing is that the GOP might win this fight, "despite the unpopularity of their position" and the fact that it adds $700 billion to the deficit, in "violent contradiction" to their avowed fiscal rectitude.
"'Chicken crap' by the numbers"
The vote was both bold and pointless: Maybe the "sneaky" way the Democrats got a vote on just their tax cuts was a little "dirty," says Michael Tomasky in The Guardian. But it's "the kind of thing either side would do in the majority, as we will soon see." The real question is why didn't the Democrats "pull this sleight-of-hand" before the midterms, when it would have mattered? "Something tells me they just didn't think of it."
"Pelosi's final win"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- 10 things you need to know today: December 18, 2014
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Capitalism isn't a cure-all for Cuba
- The Hobbit: A disappointing set of movies, but a worthy set of prequels
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- The liberation of Barack Obama
Subscribe to the Week