No revenue increases. Cuts in spending greater than an increase in the debt ceiling. A hike in the latter that will take the US well into 2013, enough to make deficit spending into a big 2012 election issue. Is this the latest from John Boehner and House Republicans? According to The Hill, it’s the latest from … Harry Reid?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Sunday he is drafting a $2.7 trillion deficit reduction package that would raise the debt ceiling through 2012 after he said talks on a bipartisan deal “broke down” again with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
The announcement raises the likelihood that the House and Senate will pursue separate proposals to lift the debt limit with just eight days to go before a potential U.S. default after Aug. 2. If both chambers passed their own bills this week, it would leave little time for the measures to be merged and sent to the president before the Treasury Department runs out of money.
Reid said his bill would meet the GOP’s criteria for approving a debt-ceiling increase: it would contain spending cuts that meet or exceed the additional authorization in federal borrowing, and it would not include new revenues – as Democrats have long demanded.
Well, this would be a first for Reid and the Democratic-led Senate. I mean that literally, of course. If Reid actually produces such a bill and puts it on the floor for a vote, it would be the first specific, written plan Democrats have managed to produce during this months-long crisis. Republicans have passed two measures already in the House and have publicly offered at least one more (the Coburn plan), while Democrats have mainly stood around lecturing Republicans to get serious.
If Reid actually follows through on this plan as stated in this article (and if the cuts are legitimate), Republicans will certainly leap at the chance to pass it quickly. Barack Obama would have little choice but to accept a no-new-revenue bill once it passes Congress. John Boehner will have prevailed on the terms of the final resolution, and Obama’s impact on legislation would be badly damaged.
Before we get to that point, though, let’s see what Reid produces, if anything at all. So far, his track record has been one of abject failure.