Saturday, July 16, 2011

McConnell's Plan Out of the Wilderness

Politico Arena Topic: Would McConnell Plan Punt Debt Solution?

At least a version of McConnell's plan could potentially pass, though a number of tea party brand House members have indicated that they would not vote to raise the debt ceiling regardless. At this point, some members of Congress view the McConnell plan as the only way out of the wilderness.

If McConnell's plan passed largely intact, it is an ingenious way to allow the country to avoid defaulting at the same time absolving Republicans of any responsibility over raising the debt ceiling by forcing the president to act unilaterally. The 2/3 vote requirement for Congress to reject such presidential moves would virtually ensure that President Obama would be able to raise the debt ceiling while all Republicans could vote against that - and what a gift that would be for the GOP for the 2012 elections. Because of this, I would be stunned if Harry Reid and the White House would support a plan that does not force Republicans to have some skin in the game as well.

President Obama would be better off invoking the 14th Amendment, unilaterally raising the debt ceiling, and using the bully pulpit to tell the country he had to take charge because Congress is dysfunctional and many members are more interested in their own political future than what is good for the American people. It wouldn't be too hard to convince Americans of that considering the events of the last few weeks.

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