At a small, informal breakfast in Midtown New York Tuesday morning, House Republican leader John Boehner said the lame-duck Congress, scheduled roughly for November 15 through December 22, will pass a bill that extends all the Bush tax cuts. And he said President Obama will not veto that bill.
Boehner reminded the breakfast group that George Stephanopoulos asked Obama many times in a recent Good Morning America interview whether he would veto an extension of the full Bush tax-cut program. And not once did Obama answer the question.
That’s a shrewd point by Mr. Boehner. It harkens back to Obama’s last full White House press conference, when the president also dodged a question about vetoing a full extension of the tax cuts.
In practical terms, Boehner expects this lame-duck tax-cut bill will be part of an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government. (There is no FY2011 budget.) He felt an omnibus bill would be better than a continuing resolution. In effect, it would be a mini reconciliation package — and a pro-growth package at that.
Boehner also made it clear that he was unhappy with the 99 Republicans who just voted — along with most Democrats — to pass the China trade-and-currency-protection bill. He basically said, “No, we must not go in that direction.” And he believes the bill will come to nothing, in particular under Republican leadership.
Boehner understands that such a bill would take a toll on middle- and lower-income people. Indeed, a massive price increase on Chinese imports brought on by protectionist tariffs, or a whopping hike in the value of the Chinese yuan, would slam all the folks who shop at Wal-Mart and Dollar General .
John Boehner himself has a strong free-trade record, and he grasps the need for a stable dollar. When asked about the plunging dollar during the 2000s, and how higher interest rates and inflation subverted the Bush tax cuts, he nodded in agreement. Boehner seems to get it.
More generally, the Republican leader is focused on stopping any regulatory, tax, and trade barriers to job creation. When asked about the main agenda point for a GOP Congress, Boehner said, “Stop all the bad stuff.”