With Speaker John Boehner’s plans in the House in disarray, it looks like the only legislative vehicle that still has a chance of passing before August 2nd is some form of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan.
The most likely path for the Reid plan passing Congress is by getting most of its support form Congressional Democrats and a decent number of Republican’s votes in both chambers. This would probably be spun as a “victory” for Democrats. It is important to remember this “victory” would still be devastatingly terrible for Liberals.
From a political perspective it would be the Democrats who actually raise the debt ceiling and Democrats who are responsible for putting in place an austerity package of all spending cuts during a major recession.
On a policy level the Reid’s plan is nothing but support of an all out war on progressive values. It is spending cuts during a jobs crisis. It would foolishly reduce demand, during an economy downturn, a prolongation of pain and lowering demand, which would make the economy worse. It is also a major deficit reduction plan without tax increases. Doing this will fully legitimize the conservative framing that we have a “spending problem not a tax problem.”
This will be seen by the GOP as a validation of the “no new taxes” demand. It will only encourage Republicans to be even more intransigent in the future.
Worst of all Reid’s plan contains the Catfood Commission II. It would pave the way for cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits using a special legislative process designed to destroy basic democratic accountability.
At this point I have zero desire to see Democrats “win” this fight by getting to be the party that not only provided most of the votes to raises the debt ceiling, but also forces ultra-conservative austerity onto the country. Given how awful the “victory” President Obama and Reid wants is, the only thing making me hopeful at this moment is that the House Democratic leadership is talking up the 14th Amendment solution.