From this AM’s WaPo:
“A bipartisan effort in the Senate to allow President Obama to raise the federal debt ceiling in exchange for about $1.5 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years gained momentum Sunday, as leaders agreed they would have to act in the next two weeks to avert a potential default by the U.S. government.”
This means House R’s would have to give up their dollar-for-dollar demand re spending cuts for debt ceiling headroom, as President Obama insists that the increase in the ceiling gets us past the election. So we’re talking about $1.5 trillion in cuts with no revenues as part of the deal, for a $2.5 trillion increase in the ceiling.
I was calling this “dirty McConnell” last week as opposed to the original McConnell idea which did not call for binding cuts. I still don’t like it—I think it’s critical for the deal to balance the spending cuts with at least some revenues. When cuts do all the lifting, we risk undermining programs that protect the vulnerable, educate our kids, retrain our adults, invest in research and infrastructure, and provide much needed health and retirement security for retirees.
Whether this unbalanced deal is a bridge too far for D’s in both the House and Senate is to be seen. I suspect it won’t be and that it will continue to gain traction. The House R’s will view it as a good deal, they can keep their meshuganah Norquist pledge, the administration will have gotten something (dropping the $-for-$ demand), and most importantly, we’ll finally get the debt ceiling behind us.
But man, I knew our politics was in rough shape, but I don’t think I realized just how dysfunctional they really were until the last few weeks. That would be bad enough if we were in a full employment economy…at 9.2% unemployment, it’s really kind of tragic.