House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has suddenly abandoned deficit-reduction talks with the White House, an example that the other Republican negotiator, Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, quickly followed.
“The new GOP position appears to be that they will not negotiate any further until Democrats take tax increases off the table. That stance seems to reflect their assessment that there are not the votes in the House to pass any deal that includes tax increases.
Cantor announced suddenly on Thursday that he would not be attending the scheduled afternoon meeting of the bipartisan deficit-reduction leadership group headed by Vice President Joe Biden, declaring tax issues an obstacle that President Obama needs to help resolve and that he believes it is time for the negotiations to move to a higher level. “Given this impasse, I will not be participating in today’s meeting and I believe it is time for the president to speak clearly and resolve the tax issue. Once resolved, we have a blueprint to move forward to trillions of spending cuts and binding mechanisms to change the way things are done around here,” Cantor said in a statement.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said when Democrats drop their demand for taxes the talk can continue, and he embraced Cantor’s decision.”
“President Obama needs to decide between his goal of higher taxes or a bipartisan plan to address our deficit,’ Kyl and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a joint statement. “He can’t have both.”
For Kyl, McConnell, Boehner and Cantor, “compromise” means the other side agrees to surrender, “bipartisan” means our way or the highway and “patriotism” means taking the nation’s economy as a hostage and threatening to do major harm unless their demands are fully satisfied.
It’s blackmail, pure and simple, and President Obama and the Democrats cannot surrender to it without also surrendering their ability to govern and their credibility as leaders.
– Jay Bookman