The White House briefed Democratic leaders on a possible $3-trillion deficit-reduction deal, the latest in a rapid-fire series of proposals aimed at winning congressional approval for an increase in the nation's $14.3-trillion borrowing limit before Aug. 2. That's when the government is expected to run short of funds and risk defaulting on its debt.Ahhh. The Democrats remember what they have done in the past with Reagan when they agreed to tax increases up front for spending cuts to come later. They then never delivered on the spending cuts. Now they fear that the GOP might pull the same thing with them so they're refusing to go along. Will we hear that they're acting like irresponsible children while Obama and Boehner are the adults in the room? Are going to hear that they're part of a cult opposing spending cuts?
An early version of the plan would lock in cuts in spending and social programs, as Republicans want, but appeared to defer decisions on increasing tax revenues until 2012. Under the proposal, Congress would take up comprehensive tax reform next year. But Democrats want enforceable measures to ensure that Republicans follow through on increasing revenue.
Throughout the day, White House aides scrambled to tamp down a simmering Democratic revolt, insisting that Obama had not agreed to forgo an increase in revenues. But at least for a time, he was in danger of losing support among his own party, including in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
A White House official was meeting with Democratic senators behind closed doors when word spread about the proposed framework. The reaction was "volcanic," said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.).
Instead, they're supporting the Gang of Six proposal that would put off the spending cuts until they are determined by congressional committees later on. So basically we'd be putting our dependence on Democratic Senate committee chairmen to find cuts at some time in the future. These are the same Senate leaders who haven't put forth a budget in over 800 days. And we're supposed to trust them to come up with unidentified cuts in the future? They can't even write a budget so who thinks that they can come up with cuts in Medicare, Social Security, and discretionary spending at some time in the future? It wouldn't happen.
With time running out, Charles Krauthammer proposes a short-term plan to give them fire or six months to work something out. Instead of depending on them to make unidentified cuts in the future without the debt-ceiling debate hanging over them, do something for the short-term and keep the debt-ceiling threat there to focus their minds.
What to do now? The House should immediately pass the Half-Trillion Plan, thereby putting something eminently reasonable on the table that the president will have to address with a serious counterproposal using actual numbers. If the counterproposal is the G6, Republicans should accept Part One with its half-trillion dollars in cuts, consumer price index change and repeal of the CLASS Act, i.e., the part of the G6 [Gang of Six] that is enacted immediately and that is real. Accompany this with a dollar-for-dollar hike in the debt ceiling, yielding almost exactly the time envisioned in the G6 to work out grander spending and revenue changes — and defer any action on Part Two until precisely that time.Well, we've already seen that Obama is willing to call his own bluff. Though the last thing he wants is for this debate to be pushed even closer to Election Day. However, the media keeps telling us that the GOP are losing to the much more responsible President Obama so maybe he'll be willing to take that risk.
The Half-Trillion with or without the G6 Part One: ceiling raised, crisis deferred, cuts enacted and time granted to work out any Grand Compromise. You can’t get more reasonable than that.
Do it. And dare the president to veto it.
Then we'll see if Congressional Democrats are the ones who are standing in the way of a deal.