Don’t vote on a fiscal cliff deal – yet (w/update)

At this point, it’s pretty unlikely there will be a vote before the end of a year for a fiscal cliff deal.

House Republicans couldn’t even manage to have a vote on Speaker Boehner’s Plan B, which would raise taxes on incomes over $1 million, while making cuts in programs for the poor.

Sunday negotiations don’t seem to be going well, particularly after Republicans asked for reductions in Social Security, a program which doesn’t add to the deficit, and Democrats rejected that proposal. [See below update

But I would hope they don’t vote on a deal at all right now.

They should wait until at least January 3, 2013.

That’s when the new Congress will be seated, to include the most recently selected House and Senate members.

If democracy means anything, it’s accountability based on elections. And while neither the House or Senate changed parties, both have different members.

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland)

Moreover, there are some important changes in committee chairs coming.

For instance, in the Senate, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland will be the new Chair of the Appropriations Committee and Patty Murray of Washington will be the new Chair of the Budget Committee. These happen to be the first women in these positions and, more important, they are both more progressive than the past chairs.

Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington)

If a big deal is to be made, something which remains to be seen, these two chairs of two key committees, should be part of it.

And those Senators and House members voting on any deal should include those chosen at the polls in November.

The American people picked those individuals and will be able to hold them accountable in the future.

Update, January 31, 10:30 AM: Social Security changes are now off the table. But the proposal being leaked, to be passed at the end of 2012, is awful. There’s almost no deficit reduction and this whole absurd crisis thing comes back in a short three months, after extending tax cuts for incomes up to $450,000.  Again, we’d be better off waiting.


Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.