Monday, July 25, 2011

Calling the Republicans’ Bluff

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has put forth a deal that would raise the U.S. debt ceiling by $2.7 trillion and offset that with $2.7 trillion in spending cuts. However, Republicans in the U.S. House quickly dismissed this offer, because it doesn’t meet their unstated goals: to undermine Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and take tax increases off the table. The fact that President Barack Obama cites Reid’s plan as “a responsible compromise that cuts spending in a way that protects critical investments and does not harm the economic recovery” may also kill it; Republican ideologues on Capitol Hill, after all, are reflexively opposed to anything the Democratic president likes, even when it adopts some of their own ideas. Today’s GOP may be unsatisfied with anything less than undoing the social and political advances of the 20th century.

But with just a week to go before the drop-dead date for hammering out a debt-ceiling compromise in Congress, Reid’s plan may be the most reasonable deal possible.

READ MORE:Boehner to Dems: I’ll See Your Plan and Raise You Another,” by Steve Benen (Washington Monthly); “The Obvious Compromise Between the Reid and Boehner Plans,” by Ezra Klein (The Washington Post).

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