Getting a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff is going to cost some lawmakers their jobs.
“There are people who are going to have to vote for this and they’re going to lose their next election. I can swear to you that’s going to happen,” former Democratic House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt told the Alley today.
And the difficulty in getting a deal is why Gephardt joined with former congressional leaders including former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert and former Senate majority leaders Tom Daschle, a Democrat, and Trent Lott, a Republican, to pen a letter to the editor in The Washington Post calling on the public to support President Obama and congressional leaders as they work to cut a deal.
“The men and women you elected and reelected will need your support in making difficult decisions and asking for the sacrifices we will all have to make. We ask that you join us in adding your voice to this national conversation,” the former congressional leaders wrote.
The country’s leaders don’t need more input on what they should do; rather, they need to know the public supports a deal, Gephardt said.
“When you’ve been in a leadership position, and we all have in that group, you know how hard this is. And you know you don’t need more ideas, you need support,” Gephardt said.
Gephardt, a veteran of several epic spending and entitlement reform battles, is bullish about the chances that Obama and congressional leaders can work something out. But he expects any deal will be an interim down payment, mostly because there’s not enough time to sell a bigger pact to the members.
“Getting the leaders to agree, that gets you four votes. You need a lot more,” he said. “And you get them one by one and they’re hard to get.”