Below is the video in which Mitch McConnell sets forth his proposal, and here is the WaPo analysis:
McConnell’s proposal would have the effect of forcing Obama and congressional Democrats to take full responsibility for raising the debt limit, and require Democrats to vote on the matter as many as six times between now and the 2012 election.
Historically, “when the president has asked for a debt-limit increase, he’s gotten it and his party has given it to him,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). McConnell’s proposal “gives the president 100 percent of the responsibility.”
Under the proposal, Congress would approve a joint resolution that would have to be signed by the president changing the rules surrounding the debt limit. The resolution would create a new legal structure to raise the debt limit on an installment plan. Obama would be required to request an increase in the debt limit three times — first for $700 billion, then for $900 billion and finally for another $900 billion. On each occasion, he would be required to submit a menu of spending cuts equal to the debt-limit request.
McConnell’s strategy makes no provision for those spending cuts to be enacted; aides said Republicans could pick and choose from the president’s list when they put together appropriations bills in a separate process. The strategy would also give Republicans no avenue to block a debt-limit increase.
My initial reaction is negative, but not as negative as some people. If the authority were to give Obama the power to increase the debt limit but contingent on equivalent cuts which Obama could choose, that would make sense.
Essentially this is a $2.5 trilliion election strategy, figuring that it is better to defeat Obama in 2012 than run the risk of consequences now which would keep Obama in office through 2016. Because by 2016 $2.5 trillion is going to seem like chump change at the rate Obama is going.
The problem is, standing firm now both is the right thing to do and may be just as good an electoral strategy. We don’t know how all this will play out, but backing down on a core principle which led to the 2010 electoral victory could just as easily fracture the Republican Party and lead to the electoral disaster we are trying to avert.
Each of these unnecessary steps would be repeated three times, giving Republicans a chance to bash Obama on 12 separate occasions, while avoiding any accountability for the debt ceiling increase or spending cuts. The largest of the three debt limit increases under the McConnell Plan is scheduled for the summer of 2012, to maximize political opportunities against Obama.
And keep in mind, Obama does not get his tax increases under this plan.