By Ezra Klein,
Mark Wilson Getty Images
Two-Step Approach to Hold President Obama Accountable
Republicans insisted that if the president wants his debt ceiling increase, the American people will require serious spending cuts and reforms. This two-step approach meets House Republicans’ criteria by (1) making spending cuts that are larger than any debt ceiling increase; (2) implementing spending caps to restrain future spending; and (3) advancing the cause of the Balanced Budget Amendment – without tax hikes on families and job creators. Although this is not the House-passed “Cut, Cap, and Balance,” it is a package that reflects the principles of Cut, Cap, and Balance. Here is more information on the plan:
• Cuts that exceed the debt hike. The framework would cut and cap discretionary spending immediately, saving $1.2 trillion over 10 years (subject to CBO confirmation), and raise the debt ceiling by less – up to $1 trillion.
• Caps to control future spending. The framework imposes spending caps that would establish clear limits on future spending and serve as a barrier against government expansion while the economy grows. Failure to remain below these caps will trigger automatic across-the-board cuts (otherwise known as sequestration).
• Balanced Budget Amendment. The framework advances the cause of the Balanced Budget Amendment by requiring the House and Senate to vote on the measure after Oct. 1, but before the end of the year, allowing the American people time to build sufficient support for this popular reform.
• Entitlement Reforms & Savings. The framework creates a Joint Committee of Congress that is required to report legislation that would produce a proposal to reduce the deficit by at least $1.8 trillion over 10 years. Each chamber would consider the proposal of the joint committee on an up-or-down basis without any amendments. If the proposal is enacted, then the president would be authorized to request a debt limit increase of $1.6 trillion.
• No Tax Hikes. The framework included no tax hikes, a key principle that Republicans have been fighting for since Day 1.