Debt Talk Movement? Gang of Six Almost Ready to Go?
Earlier today, The Hill reported the “Gang of Six bill could be ready for Aug. 2 deadline.” The article went on to quote Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), who said the group has had “legislative language in the works for months. Obviously it has updating and refining to be done to it, but we have a draft.” As has been the case during much of this debate, details and negotiations are being obscured from the public view, leaving the American people and many Members of Congress out in the sun.
Why? Numerous unnamed sources in a New York Times article gives us the answer (emphasis added):
However, officials on all sides of the tense negotiations warned that no firm deal was in hand yet, and tried to play down the progress — if only to stave off attempts to block it or influence its shape by hardliners on both sides of the debate on taxes and spending.
Another typical Washington Establishment line. They’re essentially saying, let’s keep the details away from people with principle to ensure they do not have enough time to digest the details before we ram it through. It’s absolutely stunning!
Why is it so important for Americans (and their lawmakers who are not involved in the scheming) to see the details? One word: Obamacare.
An outline can be spun one way or another, depending on your audience. As Keith Hennessey notes with the Gang of Six (emphasis added):
The Gang’s documents use three different baselines as bases for comparison for different elements of the plan. They don’t specify how much they want to spend on 30% of the budget, and they count savings from a weak legislative process change on health care. To me these are flashing red lights suggesting someone is trying to hide the ball.
One of the graphs shows the additional $117 B in health savings, but lightly shaded, again allowing the Gang to sell it both ways to different constituencies. This ambiguity detracts from the plan’s credibility and is important.
But the Gang of Six is not the only plan out there! The McConnell-Reid proposal, another gimmick that will just lead to more borrowing, seems to be readied in the event another deal is not reached. Rumors of a deal between President Obama and Speaker Boehner are rampant, though denied. All the while, the Cut, Cap and Balance plan has passed the House and is being debated in the Senate.
The bottom line is this: Heritage Action seeks to drive down federal spending and borrowing while protecting America and not raising taxes. Any deal that fails to meet those conditions is a non-starter.