Good morning from inside the Beltway. I’m Daniel Malloy, the DC Correspondent for the AJC and your Insider guest pilot for the next three weeks (or at least until the fiscal cliff drama ends). Galloway handed over the keys reluctantly and made me promise not to scuff it while he’s gone. I’ll do my best. Please send news tips, gripes and corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We begin with a piece from National Review Online’s Robert Costa, impeccably well-sourced in Republican circles, positing a run by Roswell’s own Rep. Tom Price for Speaker of the House if there is a conservative revolt against John Boehner over the fiscal cliff negotiations:
“Price is the person we’re all watching,” says an aide close to House leadership. “We know he’s frustrated, but we don’t know much else.”
In an interview with National Review Online, Price won’t speculate about his future, but he acknowledges his growing uneasiness. “My concern is that within our conference, conservatives, who are a majority, don’t have a proper platform,” he says. “That’s true at the leadership table and on the steering committee.”
You may recall that Price’s loss to Cathy McMorris Rodgers in a race for the No. 4 leadership post stirred rumors of a possible primary challenge against Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Price has been noncommittal about his future to any of the (many) reporters who have asked, and some Georgians told Costa they think the Speaker buzz is more about scaring Chambliss. But for those parsing his plans, here’s an interesting quote: “The House is rough and tumble, and I love it.”
UPDATE: 12:52 p.m. Price spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael throws a bit of cold water on this report, though in typical Price fashion it is not completely ruling out anything: “Congressman Price is not running for speaker. He is focused on real solutions to get America back on track. Those solutions reside in fundamental principles that embrace individual opportunity and economic freedom.”
Chambliss, meanwhile, addressed state legislators in Athens on Sunday and did not bear good news for his party, reports Walter C. Jones of Morris News Service: “I think the president’s probably going to get his way.” Jones also reports that the audience clapped for Chambliss’ statement that a deal must cut federal spending but was mum when the state’s senior senator mentioned reforming Medicare and raising revenue. Tough crowd.
And what of Price’s other potential foe? Boehner met with President Barack Obama on Sunday for some mano-a-mano negotiating before the president takes off for Michigan to rally the public for his plan on taxes Monday. The Washington Post offers us a glimpse of what a potential deal would look like. You may speculate all you like about what Price would think of this package:
●Fresh tax revenue, generated in part by raising rates on the wealthy, as Obama wants, and in part by limiting their deductions, as Republicans prefer. The top rate could be held below 39.6 percent, or the definition of the wealthy could be shifted to include those making more than $375,000 or $500,000, rather than $250,000 as Obama has proposed.
Obama wants $1.6 trillion over the next decade, but many Democrats privately say they would settle for $1.2 trillion. Boehner has offered $800 billion, and Republicans are eager to keep the final tax figure under $1 trillion, noting that a measure to raise taxes on the rich passed by the Senate this summer would generate only $831 billion.
●Savings from health and retirement programs, a concession from Democrats necessary to sell tax hikes to GOP lawmakers. Obama has proposed $350 billion in health savings over the next decade. Boehner has suggested $600 billion from health programs, and an additional $200 billion from using a stingier measure of inflation, reducing cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients.
●Additional savings sufficient to postpone roughly $100 billion in across-the-board agency cuts set to hit in 2013, known as the sequester, and to match a debt-limit increase. The sequester, perhaps paired with an automatic tax hike, could then serve as a new deadline, probably sometime next fall, for wringing additional revenue from the tax code and more savings from entitlement programs.
Saturday Night Live anticipates Obama caving completely because House Republicans, among other things, yanked off Boehner’s pants and made him go into the ladies’ restroom. “Leave this poor, orange man alone,” says Obama. (No mention of Price specifically.) I believe this was Bill Hader’s debut as Boehner.
Closer to home, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority Board votes Monday morning on a new Falcons stadium. WSB has more of the details here. The row over this project might have something to do with the findings from the AJC’s latest poll showing how little trust local leaders have with the electorate. This must come as a shock to many of you. Deep breaths, please.
- By Daniel Malloy, Political Insider