Pot sweetener: McConnell “hybrid” plan would create commission on entitlement reform
posted at 9:15 pm on July 15, 2011 by Allahpundit
Larry Kudlow says it’s in the works. Lefty Greg Sargent is hearing the same thing from his sources. We already knew that some sort of commission was in the offing, but we didn’t know that it’d be geared towards entitlements. Second look at total capitulation to Obama?
The key part of the new McConnell package is a joint committee to review entitlements in a massive deficit-reduction package. Unlike the Bowles-Simpson commission, this committee will be mandated to have a legislative outcome — an actual vote — that will occur early next year. No White House members. Evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. No outsiders. This will be the first time such a study would have an expedited procedure mandated with no amendments permitted. Also, tax reform could be air-dropped into this committee’s report.
Senator McConnell is determined to produce something from this grand-design package. He’s a smart guy. He may be saving the GOP from itself. McConnell believes that debt default must be completely taken off the table. That’s the thinking behind his debt-ceiling proposal, unless overturned by two-thirds of a congressional vote…
Other Republican sources are telling me they do not want to risk the destruction of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency by allowing a debt default or a downgrade. Eighty million checks have to go out. Otherwise the GOP could be blamed.
Er, how exactly is this a pot sweetener for Republicans? We’re going to pass the McConnell bill to shift most (but not all) of the power over the debt ceiling to Obama, and in return we get … to take a tough vote on entitlement reform in an election year, when the Democrats will already be hard at work on Mediscaring? Didn’t we already check that box by voting for Paul Ryan’s plan? There’s little chance that any commission proposal will pass the Senate, bipartisan or not; there’s a slim chance that it won’t even pass the House as centrist Republicans from purple districts get squeamish about tackling Social Security just a few months out from election day. I can see this as a pot sweetener for Democrats, some of whom are suspicious of McConnell’s gambit, since it would hand them a bludgeon with which to beat the GOP. But for Republicans, the vote makes more sense if it comes in 2013, not next year. Or is the fear here that, come 2013, there won’t be a Republican majority in the House anymore so we need to try to move on this ASAP?
While you mull that, here’s O kinda sorta praising the McConnell plan in his presser today. He refers to the default date next month as “Armageddon,” but I can’t quite understand why. If it were Armageddon, surely, surely he’d be amenable to a short-term debt-ceiling deal to avert it. And surely, surely centrist Democrats wouldn’t be whining to Politico about how they might just have to walk away from a nation-saving compromise. Right? Exit quotation: “Getting a lot of votes from the Blue Dogs will be difficult, because we’re in these districts where we have difficult elections. Why would we give a tea party person a pass when we’re having to take the tough vote? The Republicans need to get their votes in line.” Click the image to watch.