StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

This Is For Everyone Who Insists There Will Be A Big Budget Deal In The Lame Duck

08 Oct 2012
Posted by Stan Collender

Jake Sherman had an excellent story in Politico on Saturday (ht Mike Allen) about House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) latest thinking on what's doable and not doable on the budget during the lame duck session of Congress.

The answer is...not much, and maybe nothing.

Boehner basically told Sherman what I've been telling my clients for months: lame duck sessions of Congress in general and this lame duck session in particular are terrible times to be making major policy decisions. Not only isn't there much actual time (3-4 weeks of legislative work at most this year), but needing soon-to-be-retired and just-defeated House and Senate members to vote on big changes in taxing and spending is a dangerous thing for the leadership to do. Why? Because you can't be sure they will vote, and if they show up you can't be certain how they'll vote.

Boehner didn't mention one additional factor that makes a big budget deal in the lame duck less likely. As I posted about several weeks ago, the only way he may be able to remain as speaker is if he adamantly refuses to compromise on the fiscal cliff. I can't imagine the White House agreeing to anything if Boehner won't agree to prevent the cliff from kicking in.

Grand bargains

Many are concerned that Obama will push for a grand bargain (i.e., cutting Social Security) during the lame duck session, given his general proclivities and his statement during the debate. I hope you're right that nothing substantive will happen then.

The fiscal cliff is more of a fiscal hill. There isn't much difference between fixing it in December and fixing it in January.

Does the whole idea of a fiscal cliff mean we're all Keynesians once again?

Recent comments


Order from Amazon


Creative Commons LicenseThe content of is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Need permissions beyond the scope of this license? Please submit a request here.