1:16pm

Wed July 27, 2011
Statehouse News

McConnell Still Backs Boehner Plan

Despite challenges within the Republican Party and projections that other congressional plans would result in more savings, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reiterated his support for House Speaker John Boehner’s plan Wednesday.  Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell said the proposal will prevent a government default before the August 2 deadline and reduce Washington spending. And unlike President Barack Obama, McConnell points out Boehner was courageous enough to provide the country with an option.

“And what about the President’s plan? Well, when asked the President’s plan, his aides point to a speech and a veto threat,” McConnell said. “With all due respect, Congress can’t vote on a speech, and a veto threat won’t prevent default. The fact is, Republicans have offered the only proposal at this point that attempts to get at the root of the problem—and which actually has a chance of getting to the President’s desk.”

But the speaker’s proposal had trouble getting out of the GOP caucus after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported it fell short of its projected savings. The mathematical snafu forced Republicans to re-work the plan and postpone a vote scheduled for this week.

And earlier today, the CBO said the debt ceiling compromise forwarded by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nv., had a larger overall deficit reduction than Boehner’s proposal.

From the Washington Post:

The estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found the measure drafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) would cut about $840 billion from agency budgets through 2021, roughly the same as the proposal by Boehner (R-Ohio). But Reid also claims significant savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The CBO found that those savings account for more than $1.1 trillion, making up more than half of Reid’s debt-reduction package.

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The new CBO report comes barely 12 hours after a similar report led House leaders to scuttle a Wednesday vote on their measure and sent them scrambling to find more savings or to reduce the $900 billion debt-limit increase included in the House bill. Boehner has demanded that spending cuts exceed any increase in the debt limit. Senate leaders, too, were expected to make adjustments to meet the dollar-for-dollar target.

While the Senate package would reduce spending more overall, by the CBO’s accounting, it would also cut more deeply next year. The House bill would reduce next year’s budget deficit by only about $5 billion, the CBO said, while the Senate bill would trim $30 billion from a one-year deficit expected to approach $1.1 trillion.