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As was entirely predictable, the second tranche of the debt increase has been de-coupled from any cuts, according to numerous press reports. But the special committee lives on. Democrats are very cleverly trying to create a situation where the committee might recommend tax increases and the alternative if Republicans vote it down will be automatic disproportionate defense cuts, as explained here:
Two sources briefed on the framework say the automatic cuts would hit Defense spending harder than Medicare. A Republican briefed on the framework says this will be unacceptable to many Republicans because it could force them to face a choice between accepting tax increases (if that is what the committee recommends) or automatic cuts that would gut the Pentagon’s budget.
If Republicans must agree to a special committee in any form–some conservatives in the House think it represents John Boehner’s continuing hankering for a Grand Bargain, which has sometimes been referred to as “Jason” because it seems so un-killable–the automatic trigger should be genuinely across-the-board cuts.