The GOP’s New-Old Plan to Default, Destroy Entitlements
After refusing last Friday to even return the president’s phone calls and then eventually walking out on negotiations to avoid default — now just one week away — Speaker Boehner has rolled out yet another Tea Party-oriented debt plan. This new plan is no better than any of the previous GOP plans and is likely to just be another waste of precious time as we hurtle toward default. In fact, due to strong opposition from Democrats, the Tea Party, and conservative groups, the plan appears to be on life support.
A vote is currently scheduled for tomorrow.
Here’s what you need to know about the GOP’s latest disastrous default plan:
- Automatically Precipitates Another Default Crisis: The Boehner plan only raises the debt ceiling enough to get us through the next few months. If a newly-created “Super Committee” of 12 members of the House and Senate cannot agree on $1.8 TRILLION in new cuts by year’s end and those cuts are not enacted by both the House and Senate, then the debt ceiling is not raised any further. In other words, we will be right back to where we are today in just a few short months.
- Means No New Revenues — Period: The first step of the Boehner plan includes no new revenues and Boehner promised that if the Super Committee proposes any new revenues in round two of the plan, the House will vote them down.
- Will Result in Deep Cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid: Since the first slice of the Boehner plan’s cuts — $1.2 TRILLION worth — come entirely from discretionary spending, the additional $1.8 TRILLION to be identified in the second stage would almost by definition have to come from entitlements programs (more on this from ThinkProgress’ Igor Volsky here). The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Robert Greenstein said, “If enacted, it could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history.”
- Would Still Mean a Downgrade of the United States’ AAA Credit Rating: A Standard & Poor’s source told CNN’s Erin Burnett that Boehner’s plan doesn’t cut enough to guarantee that they won’t downgrade the U.S. credit rating anyway. The source also noted that the Democratic plan proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would avoid such a downgrade. Video, via ThinkProgress:
- Opposed by President Obama and Democrats: This afternoon, the White House issued an official veto threat. Senator Reid also called a press conference this afternoon and called the Boehner plan “dead on arrival” in the Senate and repeated three times that “Democrats will not vote for it.” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said “very few” Democrats in the House would vote for it.
- Opposed by Conservative Groups: The Cut, Cap, and Balance Coalition, a collection of more than 60 Tea Party and other right-wing groups, came out in loud opposition to the plan yesterday. They have been followed today by other influential groups, including Heritage Action, FreedomWorks, and the Club for Growth.
- Opposed by Tea Party Extremists in the House: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of 178 extremely conservative House Republicans, announced that he will opposed the plan, adding that “[he is] confident as of this morning that there were not 218 Republicans in support of this plan.” (218 is the number of votes typically needed to pass a bill in the House.) Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann also announced her strong opposition to the plan, calling it “wrong” at a campaign stop today in Iowa.
- ThinkProgress Whip Count Against the Boehner Plan: Boehner can lose just 23 GOP votes if all Democrats stand united against the plan (which is unlikely, though the number of defections is expected to be very small). Here is the ThinkProgress whip count of Republicans and potentially wavering Democrats who have confirmed that they will vote against the plan:
- Jim Jordan (R-OH) [The Hill]
- Michele Bachmann (R-MN) [ThinkProgress]
- Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) [The Hill]
- Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) [The Hill]
- Jeff Landry (R-LA) [National Review]
- Phil Gingrey (R-GA) [Twitter]
- Trey Gowdy (R-SC) [NYT]
- Tom Graves (R-GA) [Twitter]
- Louis Gohmert (R-TX) [National Review]
- Dennis Ross (R-FL) [National Review]
- Joe Walsh (R-IL) [MSNBC]
- Steve Southerland (R-FL) [RCP]
- Ron Paul (R-TX) [Call to office]
- Paul Broun (R-GA) [Call to office]
- Heath Shuler (D-NC) [The Hill]
In one sentence: Instead of wasting more time on extreme plans that can’t pass, it’s time for Speaker Boehner and Republicans to agree to a compromise plan that avoids both default and devastating cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other vital government programs and services.
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Numbers to Know: Bush — Not Obama — Still to Blame For Debt Crisis
Via the New York Times: