McConnell Plan For Debt Ceiling May Be Final Answer, Insiders Say
WASHINGTON -- A key liberal insider and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) indicated on Sunday that the final debt ceiling deal will likely resemble something akin to what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) unveiled earlier this week, despite bipartisan derison of the plan.
John Podesta, who runs the Center for American Progress, a think tank with extremely close ties to the Obama administraion, said on "Fox News Sunday" that McConnell's plan is the likely endgame for current debt talks. Nobody in the administration has indicated what they believe the outcome of the debt negotiations are likely to be.
"I don't like it, but I think it is probably some version of McConnell, which is cut the deficit now by 1.3 or 1.4 trillion dollars, get the debt limit passed… and then fight it out next year in the election," Podesta said. "President Obama will frame it and Republicans can answer."
Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew said on ABC's "This Week" that he thinks some deal will get done, but did not specify what he thinks the final terms of a deal will be.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-S.C.) rejected the McConnell plan on "Fox News Sunday," saying House Republicans would not accept it.
"Let's have a national debate, not that cop-out like the McConnell plan," Jordan said, before acknowledging that a coalition between Democrats and some more moderate Republicans might have enough votes to clear the plan through the House.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) blasted the McConnell plan while sitting next to Jordan on the Fox program. "It's a political answer, not a real answer to the problem," Van Hollen said.
Jordan and other House Republicans are demanding that any deal to raise the debt ceiling include a constitutional amendment that would require the government to balance its budget -- using policies preferred by the GOP. But Senator Kyl said Jordan's plan would be dead on arrival in the upper chamber.
"That doesn't pass the Senate," Kyl said on ABC's "This Week." When asked what kind of deal could be approved, Kyl pointed to McConnell.
"Well, it's McConnell-Reid, yes," Kyl said. "That's what the Senate is proceeding with. Now, the House of Representatives has to make its decision about what it will do. But ... at the end of the day, I don't think there'll be a default."
Specifics of the McConnell plan are still being discussed, but the general approach would require over $1.5 trillion in spending cuts over ten years, while granting President Obama the authority to extend the debt ceiling through the 2012 election season. Obama would also have to propose -- but ultimately be allowed to veto -- any additional cuts beyond the initial $1.5 trillion. The deal would further create a new deficit commission comprised solely of lawmakers who would be tasked with finding additional savings in the budget. The commission's recommendations would be given automatic, amendment-free votes in both chambers of Congress.