Last week's news reports about congressional (actually...congressional Republican) action on the debt ceiling did what in the journalism business is called "burying the lead," that is, the stories typically didn't start with the most important part of what happened.
To a certain extent that wasn't surprising. As most reports said, the GOP folded its debt ceiling tent and went home. Three years after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) began to insist that Congress would never allow the government's borrowing limit to be raised again unless Republicans got something something in return, and long after House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said there would be no debt ceiling increase unless he got a dollar in spending cuts for every dollar of increased borrowing authority, congressional Republicans allowed the government to borrow more without getting anything from the White House and congressional Democrats.
This morning, a bipartisan group of 50 or more senators endorsed a revived version of the "Gang of Six" plan. The Atlanta Constitution's Jamie Dupree seems to be the first to put the details on the web here. President Obama endorsed the plan in principle in a press room appearance at 1:35 p.m. today. The transcript will be posted here. This stole the thunder from the House's vote later today for "Cut, Cap, and Balance," H.R.2560. When the Senate votes down H.R.2560 later this week, the key question will be whether 120 House Republicans will support the "Gang of Six" plan. I've already had one top House GOP staff director express doubt, but we shall see.
President Obama just said, "So what I've said to the leaders is, bring back to me some ideas that you think can get the necessary number of votes in the House and in the Senate. I'm happy to consider all options, all alternatives that they're looking at. The things that I will not consider are a 30-day or a 60-day or a 90-day or a 180-day temporary stopgap resolution to this problem." That's music to the ears of those of us who want serious deficit reduction after 2012, but, unfortunately, it flies in the face of recent history.
This Congressional Research Service report lists 11 short-term continuing resolutions to fund the government that President Obama has signed since taking office on January 20, 2009.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will address the Economic Club of New York over dinner next Monday. His remarks come at a crucial time as world money managers assess whether the U.S. will get its fiscal house in order. Here's what I expect to hear.
Today, Jim Carter and I wrote this op-ed in Investor's Business Daily. Until recently, Jim was Chief Economist at the Senate Budget Committee Minority and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Treasury.
House Speaker John Boehner has a problem. With the federal government rapidly approaching its debt limit of $14.294 trillion, more than a few members of the House have said they won't vote to increase it.
Some oppose raising it as a matter of principle. Others are willing to raise it, but only if the increase is accompanied by spending cuts and budget reforms. And then there are those who simply want to make the most of this opportunity to score political points.