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July 19, 2011 05:14 PM MDT

Bennet, Udall, Obama Unite Around "Gang of Six" Debt Plan

  • by: Colorado Pols

Politico’s Jennifer Epstein and Carrie Budoff Brown update:

In an appearance in the White House briefing room, Obama urged congressional leaders to embrace the “Gang of Six” proposal, which would slash the deficit by $3.7 trillion over 10 years, in part by raising about $1 trillion in new revenue.

“We have a Democratic president and administration that is prepared to sign a tough package that includes both spending cuts, modifications to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare that would strengthen those systems and allow them to move forward, and would include a revenue component,” Obama said. “We now have a bipartisan group of senators who agree with that balanced approach. And we’ve got the American people who agree with that balanced approach.”

Obama’s decision to align himself with the Senate package aims to further marginalize House Republicans, who have resisted any deficit reduction plan that includes new revenues… [Pols emphasis]

Count Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado in, reports The Hill:

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), [said] he would support the gang’s plan, added: “There’s a lot of support for turning the gang into a mob.

“Count me in,” he said. “I’ve long held this is what we need to do. The credit agencies are saying it’s not enough to take care of the debt limit. We have to take care of the long-term fiscal scenario.”

Sen. Michael Bennet too, reports FOX 31’s Eli Stokols:

Bennet’s statement follows President Barack Obama’s press conference where he praised the plan, put forth by the so-called ‘Gang of Six’, as a “significant step” in the ongoing impasses over cutting the deficit and raising the debt ceiling…

“In our meeting, the ‘gang of six’ presented a plan that would meet those broad goals. Although nobody is going to agree with every single piece of this, or any comprehensive plan, the ‘gang of six’s’ bipartisan proposal provides a path forward towards meaningful deficit reduction – in fact, it would reduce our deficit by close to $4 trillion.

“I urge my colleagues to review this plan and hope we can bring it to the Senate floor for debate and an up or down vote,” Bennet continued. “I would support this plan if it were considered on the Senate floor.”

The broad contours of this plan ($3 trillion in cuts, $1 trillion in new revenue) are similar to the failed “Grand Bargain” negotiated between President Barack Obama and GOP House Speaker John Boehner–before Boehner abandoned that deal under pressure from his caucus. Once again, and this time with bipartisan support in the Senate, Obama has thrown responsibility for continuing the debt-ceiling impasse, and the resultant uncertainty plaguing the economy, firmly back on House Republicans. As the polls show, that is very bad for the Republicans.

The House GOP, as we’ve discussed at length, has backed itself into this corner with their insistence on a “deal” with no revenue increases whatsoever; obstinance disfavored by the public according to polls. With today’s development, it’s much more likely now that the House will be forced to agree, at least, to the McConnell “escape hatch” plan which surrenders their negotiating leverage in exchange for posturing–or agree to a plan that would reduce the deficit much more, but means defeat for their dogmatic stand against “increasing taxes.”

We can’t say we’ve been confident of the outcome in this high-stakes game at every point; there were several moments when it seemed as though Obama was taking significant political risks to get Republicans to the table. Increasingly, it looks like Obama will succeed in placing himself above a perceived partisan scrum, and that the GOP will lose more than any of this was worth. If there is an ounce of political sense left over there, they will put Grover Norquist out to pasture, and embrace a deficit deal consistent with the wishes of the voters–while they still can.


36 thoughts on “Bennet, Udall, Obama Unite Around “Gang of Six” Debt Plan

          1. Dept. of Education would be a fantastic start.  Beyond that, I’ll use the words of a very wise man, in all areas except choosing forwards from Philly:

            You do understand that the budget is a congressional task, right?

            1. We don’t want an educated population. No, we want a bunch of morons running the country in twenty years.

              Oh wait, isn’t one of the largest factors in unemployment lack of applicable skill to add to the job market?

              Nah, let’s grow em uneducated.

              Then we can really  see what a welfare state looks like.

              1. What was the national graduation rate before Carter created the D o Ed as a payback to the unions?

                It’s about $75 billion/year, right?

                Get rid of it, give each State $1 billion per year for education, and voila!  $25 Billion right off the top!

            2. …what kind of cuts? When you go with the vague entitlement thing, do you mean we should cut disability payments to veterans rated less than 20%?

              When YOU say cut DoE, I get the partial snark based on your personal (and not representative) experience with public education…but what exactly? End NCLB?

              “Beyond that” you don’t get to candyass out of. If I say I’d cut the DoD budget to 25% of their pre-9/11 budget, with an emphasis of ending the no-bid non-reviewable contracts with mercenaries and companies that can’t show what they spent their money on…that’s pretty clear.  

        1. too many House Rs take marching orders from Norquist to vote for any.  His supposed willingness to consider any such thing was short lived if his recent TV appearances ar anything to go by.

    1. I want to know what the revenue increases are.  I’ve heard that top rates may be reduced from 39% to 28%.  Hmmmmm…. Rich Guy is beginning to get a big fat smile.

  1. Is it any surprise that as soon as President Obama’s name is taken off the plan Republicans all of sudden think it’s reasonable? It’s nearly the same deal the President has been pursuing this whole time.  

    1. It is simply breathtaking. The GOP has really screwed themselves with this one. The House plan has an ice cube’s chance in hell. The McConnell plan, if brought to the house, would fail. The GOP would get rocked in the polls and the DOW would drop 900 points. Ironically, they have no choice but to support the Dem plan without risking everything.

  2. This is the finale of “reagonomics”, or how to destroy a great country in less time than the Roman Empire went down with lead poisoning.

    The cheering of “cuts” is sickening. At a time when the government should be spending a lot more and hiring people, there is cheering and butt kissing over laying people off. This morning was I read an interesting little article about how Wal-Mart, the evil store, is losing money because the poor people who shop there have nothing to shop with anymore.

    Where will those totally unemployed and unemployable going to find ways to sustain themselves and their families now that unemployement payments are ending and there is great cheering with that development too.

    Women are being forced back to the coathanger in more states as the rich white guys want to return the country to 1849 (at best) or Dark Ages (most likely). And that is being cheered on too.

    I am very sorry to see this point where anti-America sentiment is being cheered. It is time for a third party to be formed; one that represents most of the people of our country, not just the uber-wealthy and corporations.

    1. cutbacks made this country great.  America was built on cutbacks; the founding fathers all wielded fiscal hatchets — everyone.

      (I ask you, where would we be today if Ronald Reagan hadn’t single-handedly cutback the Germans at Pearl Harbor . . . ?)

  3. addressing the long term fiscal house in a short term weak economy reminds me of an old saying that a famous economist once said.

    “in the long run we are all dead”

    Addressing your long term problems when you have significant short term problems is usually a bad idea.  Cutting the deficit when the economy needs fiscal stimulus in the short term is usually a bad idea.

    Fiscal stimulus by definition means deficit spending: whether unbalanced tax cuts (I know. I know. tax cuts aren’t deficit spending according to conservatives–but to economists they are) or unbalanced government services.

    Deficit spending has been the key  economic recovery in every prior recession in the modern age.  

    The plan to deal with the long term problem in the short term is actually short sighted and will extend the recession (or rather employment recession).

    But this is all a fake argument (that long term deficits are suddenly a huge problem). Let me present the real argument with 6 budget proposals.

    Proposal 1. $6 billion in deficit reduction= $3 Billion in spending cuts and $3 billion in revenue increases

    Proposal 2. $4 billion in deficit reduction= $3 Billion in spending cuts and $1 billion in revenue increases

    Proposal 3. $3 billion in deficit reduction= $3 Billion in spending cuts and 0 in revenue increases

    Proposal 4. $2 billion in deficit reduction= $3 Billion in spending cuts – (minus) $1 billion in tax cuts targeted at working people.

    Proposal 5. $2 billion in deficit reduction= $3 Billion in spending cuts – (minus) $1 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.

    Proposal 6. $1 billion in deficit increases= $3 Billion in spending cuts – (minus) $4 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.

    Put them in order of what the GOP is likely to support.  This will tell you all you need to know about the GOP and fiscal conservatism.

    I can actually find cognates for all these proposals, some historical, some enacted, some proposed

    1. Cuts do nothing but reduce spending and secondarily increase UI and ER payments. No job get unemployment (if you are lucky); no job no healthcare – go to ER. Just two of those.

      Deficits go away with tax restoration. There is no reason or logic to not kill the Bush/Obama tax relief for the ultra wealthy. The years the ultra-rich have had to pay no effective tax the country has gone down the toilet hole. They have not created jobs, actually the opposite. They (the ultra-rich) have not provided a damned thing to our country. And now they are willing to destroy the country for their ego. Piss on ’em.

      Spend to recover and also restore the ultra-rich to taxpayer status.

  4. Medical inflation has hit the critical point where it is a real danger to our economy long term. So addressing medical costs, and through it entitlement costs, is critical. The reform has to be real, it has to be substantial, and…

    It needs to start in a couple of years once we’ve turned the economy around. Because the best way to increase tax revenue is to get everyone working at a good paying job.

    So create a plan where the cost reduction part is locked in but starts in a couple of years. And then focus on fixing the economy.

    1. The reform has to be real, it has to be substantial, and…


      and…it has to cut the private insurance companies off at the knees by offering a public option. As long as health care costs are driven by insurance company and medical industry profits, we will ALL continue to pay too much.


  5. This is the latest House proposal.  So now we are paying for Iraq and Afghanistan on the backs of the poor, the unemployed and seniors.  And of course, with no new reveue.

    I still say the GOP will go down in flames in 2012.  Good riddance!

    1. but lets hope Obama and the Dems have the guts to not let the GOP bully them, as usual, into throwing  our vets, seniors, women and children to the wolves in the meantime.  

    2. An encouraging start to the Wisconsin recalls.  Dave Hansen is one of the Dems Repblicans tried to defeat by recall.  It didn’t work:  

      WASHINGTON — Wisconsin state Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) handily won Tuesday’s recall election, giving Democrats a victory in the first of nine contests being held this summer.

      And it wasn’t even close

  6. .

    to my house-guest.  He (or she, I’m not sure) is from Mars, and just arrived today.  He speaks English, thank goodness, and spent the day reading about the budget compromise.

    When I got home from the salt mine, he asked me if we aren’t trying to solve the problem of borrowing and spending too much (national debt in the aggregate, budget deficit each year) by borrowing even more (debt ceiling.)  

    Silly question.  But how to answer it ?


  7. I have finally gotten ahold of a copy of the written plan – http://big.assets.huffingtonpo

    It is almost unreadable (the copy is clear enough – the prose is horrible.) and very short on details.  However, it does call for the use of “chained CPI” which will be an immediate cut in Social Security benefits.  Democrats say that Social Security does not contribute to the debt.  So, why all the provisions to cut Social Security benefits?

  8. None of this would be happening but for conservatives in control of the entire conversation. It’s a proud day for freedom and small government. Don’t give up a bit more than necessary, ye boys from Colorado! We are behind you.

    1. now where’s that “Mission Accomplished” banner . . . hmmmm, it was here on the dresser — here, just underneath my codpiece — last time I saw it?

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