October 17, 2013

Debt deal revitalizes the Catfood Commission; nothing "clean" here

Or, some sort of surrogate for it.

As part of the deal on the Senate's bill that ended the federal government shutdown and pushed back the debt ceiling limit, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to fast track discussions on  what sure sounds like it will lead to "entitlement reforms:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday that under his agreement with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, the two leaders would name members to a bicameral budget conference committee “that will set our country on a long-term path to fiscal sustainability.” ...

The ultimate deal may end up looking like the one that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., proposed last week in a Wall Street Journal op-ed: “We could provide relief from the discretionary spending levels in the Budget Control Act in exchange for structural reforms to entitlement programs.”
So, while the Democratic Party may have gotten a "clean" win in yesterday's votes, we the non-neoliberal people did not. Cue up the Catfood Commission theme music.

And, it will be harder for non-neoliberals to slow this down in the Senate:
“Probably the most important part of budget reconciliation is that a reconciliation bill can approve policy reforms with only 51 votes in the Senate,” said Loren Adler, the research director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. This fast-track process “could be critical in increasing the chances for tax reform” and reform of entitlement programs to succeed.

That's even though the Gipper himself knew that entitlements (theoretically, per Al Gore's "lockbox") weren't connected to the deficit:

Beyond that, some economists say the deficit is being reduced too quickly right now.

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