Designed to head off the deep automatic spending cuts and higher tax rates set to kick in next year, the proposal is to instruct — actually, mandate — the powerful House and Senate tax-writing committees to rewrite the Tax Code.

And if they fail?

That part isn’t firmed up yet. But some mechanism would kick in to force Congress’s hand to slash the deficit and overhaul tax and spending laws. The goal, just like this time, would be to make the cost of failure greater than the pain of any compromise.