Elections Decided, Cliff Draws Nearer

Following Election Day, while key individual officials will be changing in the coming months, the 30,000-foot overview of Washington’s political world looks similar to what it has been since the 2010 elections. President Barack Obama was victorious in his re-election campaign, Democrats increased their power in the U.S. Senate, and Republicans strengthened their hold on the U.S. House of Representatives. 

In this newly cemented reality, the White House and Congress must chart a path to finish 2012 without allowing the nation to drive over the “fiscal cliff.”  While taking a government shutdown off the table in September, America’s leaders delayed dealing with a myriad of tax and budget issues that comprise the “fiscal cliff” until the lame-duck session of Congress.  On December 31, lower tax rates enacted under President George W. Bush, the Alternative Minimum Tax patch, and the payroll tax holiday will expire. In addition, a number of Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) taxes and monumental automatic spending cuts resulting from the 2011 debt ceiling compromise will begin taking effect on January 1. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wasted no time after the election beginning the messaging battle in advance of the cliff. They and President Obama now have seven weeks (six, if they would like to complete action before Christmas) to reach a solution.

  • Find statements by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
  • Learn more about the “fiscal cliff” debate here and here.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations

Published: November 9, 2012