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    CBO Score – Boehner Plan Falls Short

    CBO Score – Boehner Plan Falls Short

    This actually is good news.  It gives Boehner a chance to reconfigure his plan to give confidence that there really will be $1.2 trillion in cuts.

    Via National Journal, the CBO scored the plan as written at only $850 billion in savings:

    House Speaker John Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan would cut $150 billion less from the deficit than he intended, according to estimates released by the Congressional Budget Office late on Tuesday.

    The CBO report presented an added obstacle for House Republicans and Boehner in particular, to secure the votes for passage because it undermined leadership’s assertion that Boehner’s proposal would trim the deficit by $1 trillion over 10 years when CBO found it would only do so by $850 billion.

    The report immediately sent GOP leadership aides scrambling to find a way to tinker with their proposal ahead of an anticipated Wednesday vote. “We promised that we will cut spending more than we increase the debt limit—with no tax hikes—and we will keep that promise,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “As we speak, congressional staff are looking at options to rewrite the legislation to meet our pledge.”

    A GOP source familiar with the options on the table said it was possible the vote could be postponed. Also under consideration is finding additional deficit-reduction measures or lowering the amount by which Boehner’s proposal would increase the debt ceiling, currently at $900 billion, to a number lower than the $850 billion deficit cut projected by CBO. Lowering the debt-ceiling figure would maintain the GOP pledge to enact spending cuts in excess of the debt increase.

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    […] Bryan mentions, he’s threatened to veto whatever Boehner sends him, which, as of yesterday, wouldn’t be much. But Republicans won’t take yes for an answer, you know. If you […]

    “This actually is good news. It gives Boehner a chance to reconfigure his plan to give confidence that there really will be $1.2 trillion in cuts.”

    You bet! And it also enhances the inherent leverage the House Republicans have in this situation.

    This situation is fundamentally different from most political balancing acts because the public perception is that something must be done by a date certain, or default will occur and fault will thereafter be assessed. That deadline changes the political balance and gives the advantage completely to the House of Representatives. And that is exactly how it is playing out.

    Let’s review a few salient facts, ones that highlight how politically vulnerable Obama and the Senate Democrats are in this matter.

    I vehemently disagree with those who suggest that the Democrats are in the political driver’s seat here. Because something must be done by early August, and because the House is the only institution that has proposed and passed a plan, it is the President and the Senate Democrats who are now most vulnerable, especially as the crisis is coming to a head.

    The President hasn’t even proposed anything like a scorable plan and even the press is starting to take him to task on that.

    The House Republicans, however, have already put one plan on the table and passed it, what might be termed the Cut the Crap & Balance the Budget proposal.

    Passage would have resolved the issue.

    Or, the Senate could have taken it up and amended it (if they dared) thereby putting it back in the lap of the House.

    They did neither.

    Harry Reid, who was obviously terrified of allowing that one to be debated on the floor of our nation’s debating society, instead engineered a motion to table the bill to be taken, and that motion barely passed, with 51 votes. It was the coward’s way out.

    Thereafter, concerned that the Senate could be blamed for the eventual default for not acting on a bill that arguably resolved the matter, Harry actually began negotiating with the Speaker on a possible alternative proposal, even to the point of acting like he would be willing to cut out the President!

    That told the tale of where the vulnerabilities are.

    Adopting a few last second corrections to this latest House bill, thereby assuring that it will result in real cuts, and then passing it, will result in putting two House plans in the lap of the Senate. Harry Reid, at that late hour will have no choice but to select one of the two and pass it, or he, and by extension, his President will have caused the default through their inaction and lack of leadership.

    The only other possibility at that point would be the adoption of minor negotiated amendments which the House might (or might not) agree to take up.

    But Harry would be negotiating any changes from a position of weakness. The Speaker could simply call his bluff and say publicly, “Nah, just go ahead and pass it as is Harry, and if we agree that it needs to be fixed, well get together and do that later.”

    If a bill now passes both Houses and is put on the President’s desk this late in the game, Obama would have no choice but to hold his nose sign it, or he would personally take complete ownership of the ensuing fiscal disaster, whether it was a downgrading of the rating, or a default.

    Some might even argue that failing to act would be impeachable, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.


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