President, Congressional Leaders To Meet Today
President Obama will sit down with congressional leaders this afternoon at the White House to try one last time to hammer out an agreement to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. But there is little hope for a major breakthrough.
According to various reports, both sides see some benefit to going over the cliff. Democrats will have a larger majority in the Senate and a few extra votes in the House of Representatives next year.
There is also the belief that each passing day will create more pressure to act, especially if the financial markets are in chaos. In such a situation, Democrats believe they have the upper hand and, for the moment, the polls suggest they do.
For Republicans, there is the reality that as of January 1st, taxes automatically go up on everyone. So virtually any deal next year is likely to be a vote to cut taxes, rather than a vote that allows some taxes to go up.
In addition, the GOP House has already passed legislation to avert the fiscal cliff. As Speaker Boehner has said repeatedly in recent days, it’s up to Senate Democrats and the White House to act now.
However the fiscal cliff is resolved, Republicans can claim something of a moral victory. As the Washington Post has observed, Democrats are now claiming to support the vast majority of tax cuts they once vehemently opposed!
Goodbye, General Schwarzkopf
General Norman Schwarzkopf passed away yesterday at the age of 78. General Schwarzkopf commanded the U.S.-led coalition that defeated Saddam Hussein’s forces and liberated Kuwait in the First Gulf War, known as Operation Desert Storm.
While much of the credit for winning that war often goes to then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Colin Powell, Schwarzkopf was the battlefield commander. So brilliant were his tactics and so decisive was the victory that the ground war lasted all of 100 hours.
Schwarzkopf was a genuine patriot with a distinguished military career. A graduate of West Point, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam and earned three Silver Stars for valor, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals. He was described by one reporter as having “a John Wayne swagger and a growl like a grizzly.”
Former President George H. W. Bush released the following statement from the hospital where he is recovering from a stubborn fever:
“General Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the ‘duty, service, country’ creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises. More than that, he was a good and decent man — and a dear friend.”
Please join Carol and me in praying for his wife, Brenda, and their three children.
NOTICE: Our office will be closed Monday, December 31st, and Tuesday, January 1st. The “End of Day” report will resume Wednesday, January 2nd. May you and your family enjoy all of God’s richest blessings in the year ahead!