As has been reported, [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell is negotiating now with Sen. Harry Reid for a large-scale package that will allow the debt ceiling to rise unless overturned by a two-thirds vote. If a White House debt-ceiling deal comes through with $1.5 trillion of spending cuts, that will be part of the package. Right now, it’s not completed because enforceable spending caps have not been determined.
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.Greg Sargent writing in a Washington Post blog reports that the McConnell package would force a major review of entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, with Congress being forced to vote on entitlement changes.
The Republican leader in the Senate wants to make sure there are Congressional votes on cutting Social Security and Medicare in an election. That sure sounds like a winner for Republicans!
Meanwhile, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) is pledging to do everything possible, apparently meaning a filibuster, to force the U.S. into default.