After introducing his controversial contingency plan, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is working with majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) to craft a “hybrid” solution that would allow the debt ceiling to rise and include a modest amount of spending cuts:
WASHINGTON — The Senate’s top two officials are working on what one aide called a “hybrid,” fail-safe solution to the debt ceiling debate that could garner enough political support to pass Congress.
The plan, which is being hatched by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), would ensure that over $1.5 trillion in cuts over ten years be passed into law. It would also grant President Obama the authority to extend the debt ceiling through the 2012 election season while requiring him to propose — but allowing him to ultimately veto — cuts beyond those initial $1.5 trillion.
Additionally, the deal would create a new “deficit commission” compromised solely of lawmakers who would be tasked with finding additional savings in the budget. The commission’s recommendations would be given automatic, amendment-free votes in both chambers of Congress.
First reported by The Washington Post, the plan is far from complete. A Republican source on the Hill cautioned not to treat it as an official option, let alone a top one. “There are a lot of people with a lot of ideas,” the source said. A Democratic source said that the language — let alone composition — of each part of the deal remains un-finalized.
So here we are, more than seven months after the Bowles-Simpson commission released its final recommendations ($4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years), and the best the Senate can come up with is $1.5 trillion in cuts and yet another deficit commission. At least we’re making progress.