It feels like we are living through the legislative equivalent of Groundhog Day. Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have put together a bipartisan back-up plan in case a deal on the fiscal cliff can’t be reached in time. From The Hill:
The break-the-glass emergency proposal would make a substantial down payment toward deficit reduction during the lame-duck session, create a streamlined process to reach a broader deal next year and implement a default deficit-reduction plan if Congress still cannot break a stalemate in 2013.
“It simply pushes the pause button on all the elements of the fiscal cliff, extends everything for a year and then gives us six months in which to reform entitlements and reform taxes and reduce the debt,” said Alexander.
If this sounds familiar, it should. This is the same basic framework agreed to in 2011 that created the fiscal cliff to begin with. President Obama and Speaker John Boehner agreed to a down payment and the default deficit-reduction “sequestrations” if a deal could not be reached by the end of this year.
So apparently the solution of these two Senators to this current artificial crisis we face is just to create a new fake crisis in another few months. Why anyone thinks it will work better a second time is beyond me.
It seems Congress’s plan now is just to keep itself in a constant state of artificial crisis about the deficit to give concern trolls more time to try to undermine support for our social safety net and create an excuse for Congress for not dealing with the actual problems we are facing.
It hasn’t been stated enough that if members of Congress are really concerned about the negative economic consequences of letting the sequestration cuts go into effect, they can simple take ten minutes to repeal them. There is zero need for a broad deal or a can-kicking back-up plan to address the immediate economic issues.
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