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Harry Reid: Boehner ‘dictatorship’ preventing fiscal cliff deal

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The Democratic leader in the Senate has declared that US politicians are likely to fail in their quest to find a solution to the the fiscal cliff budget crisis.

With five days to reach a political solution before massive tax hikes and spending cuts kick in, Nevada senator Harry Reid said the deadline would probably be missed. “It looks like that’s where we’re headed,” he said on the Senate floor on Thursday. “The American people are waiting for the ball to drop, but it’s not going to be a good drop.”

Reid’s gloomy acknowledgement of the failure of bipartisan negotiations triggered a sell-off on US stock markets. All the major US markets had turned negative by noon. The latest survey of consumer confidence by the Conference Board showed a sharp drop to 65.1 in December, from a revised 71.5 in November that the thinktank blamed on uncertainty caused by the budget crisis.

US senators returned to work on Thursday after the Christmas break, and Barack Obama cut short his Christmas vacation in Hawaii to fly back to Washington in search of a deal. But the House of Representatives is not in session, prompting Reid to to accuse the Republicans of being “out watching movies” with the fiscal cliff deadline fast approaching.

“I have to be honest: I don’t know, time-wise, how it can happen,” said Reid. “I would hope that the speaker and the Republican leader here in the Senate would come to us and say: here’s what we think will work.”

On Wednesday, before boarding the plane, Obama had telephone discussions with Reid, Reid’s Republican opposite number Mitch McConnell, Republican House speaker John Boehner, and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi.

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But there is little sign that either side in Congress is willing to act swiftly in search of compromise. Reid’s comments come after Boehner called on the Senate to act. On Wednesday, Republican leaders said two bills had already been presented to the Senate aimed at solving the impasse, and that senators were prepared to vote on them after amendment.

Those bills have stalled over reluctance from Republicans to sign off on any deal that raises taxes, and criticism that Obama’s spending cuts do not go deep enough.

Reid hit out in a statement Wednesday in which he said: “The Senate has already rejected House Republicans’ Tea Party bills, and no further legislation can move through the Senate until Republicans drop their knee-jerk obstruction,” he said.

On Thursday, he upped the rhetoric, saying Boehner “seems to care more about his speakership” than striking a deal.

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The Republican Speaker faces a vote on his position on January 3, and Reid accused Boehner of delaying negotiations until that vote was resolved. The House is being run “by a dictatorship of the speaker,” he said.

But a spokesman for Boehner hit back: “Senator Reid should talk less and legislate more. The House has already passed legislation to avoid the entire fiscal cliff. Senate Democrats have not.”

House Republicans are planning a conference call on Thursday afternoon to discuss, among other things, their possible return this weekend. Members were told they would be given 48 hours notice before any impending return, and snowstorms across the US may delay travel plans.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2012

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The right-wing scored more in years of Trump than eight years of George W. Bush: report

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President George W. Bush oversaw eight years that restricted rights, banned LGBTQ equality, appointed anti-choice judges and so much more. But under Donald Trump's presidency, social conservatives have managed to roll back any progress made by President Barack Obama's leadership.

A new Axios report listed out any anti-LGBTQ, anti-women and anti-poor policies.

“He campaigned saying that he would be a good friend to LGBT people,” James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, told VOX. "Actions speak far louder than words. And what he's done has been a wreck."

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Israel’s Netanyahu just christened a building named after Trump — that doesn’t even exist

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent his Father’s Day dedicating a new Trump Tower-type building that hasn't been built in a town that doesn't exist.

Standing in front of a large sign saying "Trump Heights," Netanyahu, who is being forced back into another election, announced the building before planning even began, Axios reported.

A great day on the Golan. PM Netanyahu and I had the honor to dedicate “Trump Heights” — first time Israel has dedicated a village in honor of a sitting president since Harry Truman (1949). Happy Birthday Mr. President!! @POTUS pic.twitter.com/fdYWzokFLK

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This graphic explains why Speaker Pelosi is resistant to impeachment

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has told her caucus that they can do investigations into the president without impeachment. The difference, however, is that there are fewer legal benefits available to Congress in their oversight role than in impeachment.

Theoretically, it should enable Democrats to do the research they need, but the White House is taking the bold step to defy the oversight the Constitution outlines. The only option open to the Democrats has been to go to court with their case outlining how the White House is breaking the law. Thus far, they've won two lawsuits about their investigations, and they will likely gain more.

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