Take one example: raising taxes on the wealthy.
Obama still wants to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year. House Speaker John Boehner is adamantly opposed, even if any tax hike applies only to millionaires and above.
Noting that voters had kept the GOP’s majority in the House, Speaker Boehner told a Republican crowd Tuesday night, “With this vote, the American people have also made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rates.”
“What Americans want are solutions that will ease the burden on small businesses, bring jobs home, and let our economy grow,” he said. “We stand ready to work with any willing partner – Republican, Democrat, or otherwise – who shares a commitment to getting these things done.”
That sounded like an olive branch, as did Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s comment Tuesday night when he told cheering Democrats, “I look at the challenges that we have ahead of us and I reach out to my Republican colleagues in the Senate and the House.”
“Let’s come together,” he said. “We know what the issues are. Let’s solve them.”
That was pretty much post-election boilerplate by both men, but the way ahead looks daunting in any case.
Tax rates for all Americans will go up at year’s end if nothing is done. The sequester – $109 billion in automatic cuts to defense and nondefense spending – would hit at the same time. So would sharply lower payments for health-care providers for Medicare patients.
Many analysts assert that the GOP might have taken control of the Senate but for major missteps by some very conservative candidates with tea party ties.