House Called Back to Washington

December 27, 2012 08:56 AM

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has called representatives back to Washington with a House session scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. There is no announced vote scheduled, but it's assumed the House has been called back to session to vote on tax and spending legislation to prevent the country from spilling over the fiscal cliff.

That is likely the case, but there is no reason to think this will be a vote on a "grand bargain." That's what the fiscal cliff "players" are calling a deal that would include significant tax reforms to increase federal revenues originating from American's making $250,000 or more. A grand bargain would also include significant spending cuts and would be the first attempt to stem deficit spending.

Any deal voted on at this time will be just that... a deal. It will be a deal simply to prevent the biggest one-time tax increase in American history. A deal passed before the new 113th Congress takes over won't do anything to stem the deficit spending - it will only prevent the wide-ranging tax increases and huge cuts to discretionary spending (including defense spending).

That kicks the grand bargain further down the road. That legislation is coming... it has to be done. And after the "display" the current Congress has put on regarding taxes and spending, the new Congress has to understand the only way to make significant progress towards cutting the deficit is to slash entitlement spending. (That's when the real name-calling will get started.)

Market reaction to word the House has been called back was predictable. Selling pressure on grain futures subsided, but the news came too late to help lift livestock futures. Equities posted sharp losses early in the day, but recovered to trade near steady in the final minutes of trade.


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