The history of the Republican Party’s relationship with the Simpson-Bowles debt reduction plan is a bit puzzling. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) helped derail it in committee, then the RNC was outraged when President Obama did not embrace it. Now, the Republicans are rejecting the president’s most recent offer to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, which is remarkably similar to the original Simpson-Bowles plan.
As Michael Linden at the Center for American Progress points out, President Obama’s plan contains “90 percent of Simpson-Bowles spending cuts and 60 percent of the plan’s revenue.”
However, though Republicans voiced support for Simpson-Bowles, there has been no such endorsements of the President’s latest plan, which a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called “unrealistic.” Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the President’s plan does not meet his “own test of ‘balance.'” This is a departure from other — and older — Republican stances on the commission:
— Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) hoped to vote on Simpson-Bowles in April 2012.
— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called Simpson-Bowles “an excellent blueprint.”
— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said there was “no time to wait” to vote on Simpson-Bowles.
— Fred Barnes, writing in the Weekly Standard, said Republicans should stress Simpson-Bowles and said, “Republicans agree [with commission’s recommendations] and should say so loudly.”
Though Republicans support Simpson-Bowles, which calls for more revenue increases than President Obama, there is no support for a similar plan when it comes from the White House.
— Greg Noth