This week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) caused quite the stir by releasing a convoluted plan for giving President Obama discretion to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally, while handing Republicans the opportunity to bash Obama for raising it on 12 separate occasions, thanks to his plan’s labyrinth of required votes. This has been interpreted by many as McConnell caving and trying to craft a way for the GOP to raise the debt ceiling without receiving many of the various demands it has spent the last several months laying out.
Today, however, McConnell attached his name to a radical piece of legislation crafted by tenther Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), which states that the debt ceiling shouldn’t be raised unless Congress approves huge spending cuts, implements a cap on federal spending and sends a constitutional balanced budget amendment to the states:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has signed on to co-sponsor the Cut, Cap, Balance Act, The Daily Caller has learned.
A group of Republican Senators introduced the legislation last week. The bill is the legislative embodiment of the Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge that began floating through the halls of Capitol Hill last month. It seeks to tie a vote on the debt limit to spending cuts and caps, and the passage of a balanced budget amendment.
The legislation is very clear in stating that the debt ceiling should not be raised in the absence of approval of a balanced budget amendment that includes spending caps:
The Secretary of the Treasury shall not exercise the additional borrowing authority under subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code until the date that the Archivist of the United States transmits to the States S.J. Res. 10 as introduced on March 31, 2011, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, a similar amendment provided it requires that total outlays not exceed total receipts, that contains a spending limitation as a percentage of GDP, and requires that tax increases be approved by a super-majority vote in both houses of Congress, for their ratification.
This is clearly a face-saving move for McConnell, who has earned the wrath of the right wing over his compromise plan. But any of the ideas included in the legislation would be horrible on their own: to bundle them all together would create a trifecta of terribleness that, if McConnell truly believes it should be implemented, should render him unfit to discuss budget matters.