I think it’s possible, perhaps probable. I also think it’s the most overlooked byproduct of the ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations.
I also think this means that President Obama has more leverage in upcoming fiscal negotiations than many progressives are willing to admit or have yet come to realize.
Allow me to explain.
Here is the roll call on the House vote to accept the Senate’s fiscal cliff bill. 170 Democrats voted yes. Several of the 16 no votes were from D’s who objected to some of the compromises on marginal tax rates. In other words, we’re not talking Blue Dog Dems here.
24 R’s from New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania voted yes. 11 more R’s from from midwest heartland states Michigan and Ohio voted yes. 7 more from Illinois.
The R’s from New Jersey and New York are outraged that R house leadership did not allow a vote on the Senate bill providing aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy. They blame the leadership of their caucus. If I’m President Obama, I demand that the new Congress sends him legislation providing relief to states and victims of Sandy post-haste. My point is that, while these legislators are not necessarily ‘gettable’ on every issue, they are likely to be far more amenable to working across party lines than any tea party types. The Obama/Christie working relationship continues to bear fruit.
We haven’t even gotten to the composition of the new congress yet. Two more D’s in the Senate, and nine more D’s in the House. A total of 200 D house members, give or take a vacancy here and there. 200 plus…18 equals a majority. Plus, we now have precedent for breaking the so-called ‘Hastert Rule’, which required a majority of House R’s to approve a bill before it could even go to the floor.
President Obama and Joe Biden had to craft this fiscal cliff deal with the congressional cards they were dealt. I’m very pleased with what they were able to get out of the deal.
Guess what? As of January 3, the odds will have improved, markedly in my opinion, in their favor and our favor.