Speaker Boehner's "Plan B" deficit package vote is a political stunt designed to feign leadership instead of doing the hard work at the bargaining table with President Obama.
The inadequacies of Boehner's Plan B are obvious -- and his scheduled vote on the tax portion of the proposal is a complete waste of precious time.
Boehner's latest proposal makes deep and unspecified cuts to programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are central to the health and economic security of people in America's middle class and those working their way into it. Once again Boehner directs his political spite at the Affordable Care Act by cutting away at the subsidies that will help people afford health insurance.
Boehner's Plan B wouldn't raise enough revenue and makes a mockery of a balanced approached to the deficit. It lets the super-rich off the hook, giving them tax breaks they don't need and which won't create a single job.
Unlike President Obama's reported offer, Boehner's plan fails to stop the automatic spending cuts that will take place in January. Boehner's plan fails to provide a long-term framework that would stop dramatic pay cuts to doctors who treat Medicare patients; in January, rates are slated to fall 26.5 percent, with more anticipated in future years. The speaker has no plan for other year-end legislative needs, such as extending unemployment insurance.
Having failed at putting together his own plan, shouldn't Speaker Boehner head back to the negotiating table?
At that table the speaker and the president should be explicit -- with each other, the Congress and the American people -- about what kind of savings from health-care programs they're talking about, and they should agree that not one penny of those savings will come from beneficiaries. That agreement should be locked in through instructions to Congress and not simply be a deal Boehner makes with his fingers crossed behind his back.
Boehner should also retract the GOP's demand to reduce the cost-of-living increase for Social Security. That cut would hurt seniors, widows, orphans and people with disabilities by taking money from Social Security, which has nothing to do with the nation's deficit.
John Boehner should stop indulging the Tea Party members of the House, who won't give him their votes under any circumstances. They're not going to vote for his Plan B because it includes a tax increase. That's dead on arrival. They're not going to vote for any proposal at all because they didn't go to Congress to get things done. The Tea Party folks went to Congress to posture and spout tired extremist rhetoric, and that's all they're going to do.
The speaker needs to stop pandering, show some leadership and get the members of his conference who are serious about governing to support a reasonable deal.
If the speaker is committed to governing and negotiating in good faith, he won't go forward with his Plan B folly. He'll go back to the table and hammer out a reasonable agreement with the president that protects America's poor, working and middle-class families and asks the wealthiest to pay their fair share in taxes.