The GOP's fiscal-cliff ace in the hole: 'Option C'
The Kansas City Star
Former White House staff Keith Hennessey notes that according to conventional wisdom, House Republicans face the choice of approving what could be a stinky Obama-Boehner deal or going over the fiscal cliff and whacking the economy.
But if there was another option, a third choice that Republicans could hold their nose and swallow, that would strengthen Boehner’s hand. If faced with a bad offer from a president in a take-it-or-leave-it mood, the speaker could tell the prez to jump in a lake and move to option C.
Option C isn’t that great, however. The plan would be to have the House pass a bill already approved by Senate Democrats. Basicallly, it would give Obama the tax increases he wants on top earners and extend current rates for everyone else. Also: It would expire after one year.
That would put the bill on Obama’s desk and the ball in his court. It’s not likely he would veto the thing.
Hennessey: “This doesn’t mean Republicans want to go with option C, or that they like option C. It instead means their negotiator now has the ability to walk away from a really terrible deal with the President, and that he can therefore demand a bit more from the President in exchange for cooperation on a deal.”
This strikes me as entirely plausible. Obama is already overplaying his hand. He could well push Republicans into Option C. Their fingerprints wouldn’t be on any recession next year (the economy is already weakening). And this would kick the can to the end of 2013. Kicking the can is what Washington does these days. Who would be surprised if they did it again?