As the Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen noted today, Democrats have bent over backwards to craft a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling, only to be rebuffed at every turn by congressional Republicans who have been insisting that any deal include no new revenue and some cockamamie conservative policies (like a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution). To date, the GOP has turned away at least six different versions of Democratic plans to raise the debt ceiling.
Last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) walked away from a deal that would have involved $4 trillion in deficit reduction, with $1.2 trillion (just 30 percent) of that coming from new revenue. As the Center for American Progress’ Michael Linden noted, this deal from Obama is significantly to the right of other deficit reduction proposals — including the plan outlined by the so-called Gang of Six and the one developed by the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission — and is even to the right of his original framework for raising the debt ceiling:
The infographic above shows that the president’s latest offer to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is heavily titled toward spending cuts. In fact, the president’s offer contained about $1 trillion less revenue than the recent proposal from the so-called Gang of Six, a group that includes three Republican senators and three Democratic senators. It also represents significant movement from the president’s original debt reduction framework, which itself was already more conservative than the recommendations from the chairs of the debt commission (Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson) last December.
Unfortunately the Republican leadership still turned the president down despite his willingness to offer cuts to programs Democrats traditionally defend and to agree to much less revenue than all other bipartisan deals.
It’s worth noting that Republicans walked away from a deal offered by congressional Democrats under which 83 percent of the savings would come from spending cuts and just 17 percent from revenue.
Today, Boehner and Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) unveiled competing plans for raising the debt ceiling. Reid’s, which the White House has endorsed, would cut spending by $2.7 trillion (inclusive of $1 trillion from “winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan”), add no revenue, and make raising the debt ceiling again unnecessary until 2013. Boehner’s plan includes $1.1 trillion in cuts and raises the debt ceiling through April.