This is one of those times that I don’t know if this is a brilliant political move or absolutely foolish.
It works like this: The plan “would give the President the ability to request smaller increases in the debt ceiling — coupled with proposed spending cuts of at least $2.5 trillion over the next year. It would provide for up to three separate sets of votes on a resolution disapproving of the increase — one later this month, the second in the fall of 2011 and the third in the summer of 2012. The plan is modeled on the 1996 Congressional Review Act, which established expedited procedures by which Congress may disapprove agencies’ rules by enacting a joint resolution of disapproval.”
The first set of votes would avoid the current default danger and ask the president for a $700 billion increase in the debt ceiling; two subsequent requests would be for $900 billion increases.
On the one hand, Mitch McConnell’s move makes it seem like Republicans won’t take responsibility for the mess they helped cause. In short, passing the buck because they wouldn’t agree to closing tax loopholes and expiring tax cuts that were set to expire anyway.
On the other hand, it may appear as if just Obama is raising the debt ceiling, which isn’t a very popular thing to get behind right now.
The opinion on the right…”NO!!!! Don’t let the debt limit be raised!”
The opinion in the middle…”NO!!!! Don’t let the debt limit be raised! And why haven’t you agreed to cut spending?”
The opinion on the left…”NO!!!! Don’t give any concessions on Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security!”
The proposal would in effect be a way out of the current standoff, which was forcing Republicans to choose between infuriating conservatives with a revenue hike or continuing to flirt with the consequences of default, which was viewed as completely unacceptable by business leaders.
At bottom, McConnell’s proposal is the latest GOP line on the debt ceiling — it’s Obama’s problem, not ours — taken to its logical and legislative conclusion.
It’s unclear what the House GOP’s lack of open support for the proposal means in practical terms. And there’s been no reaction yet from the White House.
As I think about it a bit more, I think Americans will think Republicans are kicking the can down the road once again, especially since many agree with the tax increases on wealthy Americans and closing the loopholes Obama has proposes.