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KEEP THE VETO PEN HANDY!

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John Eyster
December 30, 2012

KEEP THE VETO PEN HANDY!

I am banking on President Obama having really studied our US History with special attention to the experience of President Clinton in 1995 when he used the PRESIDENTIAL VETO PEN to stop the 1996 federal budget sent to him by Speaker Gingrich and the GOP controlled congress. I hope Clinton is communicating NOW with Obama providing healthy advice for NOW. Obama MUST demand a REASONABLE compromise NOW! Do YOU agree?

Let's review the situation in 1995: President used his PRESIDENTIAL VETO PEN in 1995 to stop the 1996 federal budget sent to him by Speaker Gingrich and the GOP controlled congress. That courageous VETO led to the “shutdown” of “non-essential services” of our US government for a total of 28 days.

While President Clinton lost public popularity immediately, long-term he gained significant increased popularity as WE THE PEOPLE of the US realized what he had REALLY ACHIEVED! I hope Clinton is communicating NOW with Obama providing healthy advice for NOW.

While there is a lot of talk about the GOP accepting a compromise which they do NOT want, I am concerned that OBAMA would accept a compromise that HE DOES NOT WANT and which contradicts his 2012 CAMPAIGN PROMISE to middle-class US citizens. Just say, “NO!” IF the GOP forces a compromise which again provides for the WEALTHY CITIZENS, I hope President Obama will VETO the bill.

While the immediate fall-out will be a loss of popularity for President Obama, I am convinced he will gain support long-term for showing COURAGE! He could become what John F. Kennedy called, “a profile of courage.” Time will tell.

If you need to be reminded about the situation when Clinton vetoed the GOP 1996 federal budget, you can use this link to access Wikipedia’s article, “United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996.” I encourage YOU to review our history so YOU are able to help us avoid bad public policy. I am hopeful. Are YOU?

I see a key learning from the CLINTON VETO of the 1996 federal budget that the VETO PEN of our US President MUST be used strategically for the benefit of WE THE PEOPLE of the US. WE THE PEOPLE are astute and able to identify who is to blame and charge them. President Clinton ultimately got deserved CREDIT! The GOP paid the price. Live and learn!

Reading the Washington Post’s feature article this morning, “Senators trade proposals into night to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’,” I felt more and more concern as to what the GOP leadership is demanding. I would VETO the GOP compromise IF it were to be passed by Congress.

TODAY at 3 pm, Senators Reid and McConnell have set a deadline for cinching a deal. That’s when they’re planning to convene caucus meetings of their respective members in separate rooms just off the Senate floor. At that point, the leaders will brief their rank and file on whether there has been significant progress and will determine whether there is enough support to press ahead with a proposal.

The Post continues to report, “If all goes according to plan, the leaders would roll out the legislation Sunday night and hold a vote by at least midday Monday, giving the House the rest of New Year’s Eve to consider the measure.

“In the House, Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) huddled Saturday with his senior staff for two hours but remained on the periphery of the negotiations. Passage in the unpredictable chamber is anything but certain. Boehner told President Obama and congressional leaders Friday that he could commit only to considering a Senate-passed bill and suggested that the House may amend that bill and send it back to the Senate.

“House consideration of the measure could become another white-knuckle moment. Boehner would like the eventual deal to be passed by a bipartisan coalition that is roughly equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, GOP aides said. Republicans have not supported tax increases since 1990, and conservative activists were already criticizing any deal to raise taxes on the wealthy.”

There is the HAUNTING ECHO from former House speaker Newt Gingrich, “There is no agreement worthy of the American people to be found in the current Washington charade. Better if everyone went home immediately.” Do YOU want Boehner and the house to take Gingrich’s advice? I do NOT!

President Obama continued to articulate optimism in his weekly radio address yesterday, “Leaders in Congress are working on a way to prevent this tax hike on the middle class, and I believe we may be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time.”

The article alerts us to the fact that President Obama will appear on today’s “Meet the Press” with the goal of keeping pressure on Congress to act. The significance of this appearance is underscored by the fact that this appearance on the NBC News show is just his second as president. The Post reports that the first came in 2009 at the height of the debate over Obama’s initiative to expand health coverage for the uninsured.

I noted the quote of Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn), “Instead of having the wind at our back and this in our rearview mirror going into this new year, it’s very apparent that’s not what’s going to happen. Due again to a lack of courage, we’re going to end up in a situation where our nation is hurt and all those who depend upon a good economy for jobs for their families are going to be damaged.”

Important to note that the Post asserts, “Negotiations were focused on whether the Bush tax cuts should be permitted to lapse on income over $250,000 a year, as Obama vowed during his campaign, or on income over $400,000, a threshold that would affect only the top tax bracket and many fewer households.

“Senate Republicans have signaled support in recent days for the higher threshold, which Obama endorsed in failed negotiations with Boehner earlier this month. Compared with GOP plans to extend the Bush reductions for all taxpayers, letting them lapse on income over $400,000 would raise about $600 billion over the next decade, according to White House estimates — barely a third of the $1.6 trillion Obama initially hoped to extract from high-income households to help reduce record budget deficits.”

Time will tell… I do HOPE President Obama keeps his presidential VETO PEN handy. Do YOU?

Here we go…

Mr. E.


John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor of political science at UW-Whitewater and an advocate for Project Citizen, a model curriculum for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.


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