Boehner  and Pence

photo: republicanconference

The amendment for the Boehner bill, which yokes a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution to the passage of a second round of debt limit increase, is available here. It’s just a page long – the BBA is the only change. The Pell grant stuff was just grumbling.

This is the same version of the balanced budget amendment from 1995 – it was just recopied word for word. That means it doesn’t have a spending cap and 2/3 vote requirement for raising revenue attached to it.

Members will get a whopping ONE MINUTE of consideration of this bill before taking the votes. Republicans appear to have them, so it’s just a formality. But this bill was DOA in the Senate even before adding the BBA. So it really gets us no closer to a solution. Why, even Republican Senators are coming out to say that a two-stage debt limit increase that means Congress will have to engage in this process again in six months, which Boehner’s bill includes, is very unwise.

GOP opposition to a deal that would extend the debt ceiling through the 2012 elections softened a bit on Friday as an influential Senate Republican said he supported the idea of putting off the issue for another year and a half.

Appearing on MSNBC, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said that in light of the drama and political theatrics of the past few weeks, it would not be “healthy” to have to raise the debt ceiling again in six months — something that House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) bill would require.

“Well, I mean, I would love to see us go ahead and achieve all the savings that we can get right now,” said Corker, who has played a leading role in his party in debt reduction conversations. “Again, I’d like, of course to push it towards $4 trillion, which is what the markets have said we need to do. But I do agree with the fact that having these debates in the middle of an economic downturn that we’re having right now is not healthy, and there’s no question that business people, those people that hire employees across our country, watch this and become uncertain.”

“So, in a perfect world, and I know we’re not in a perfect world, but if we can … over the next several days [get] something that actually achieves all those savings on the front end and also extends the debt limit beyond this next election, to me that would be a perfect solution and I hope we can do that,” he said.

Basically, the Senate GOP would be fine with the Reid bill if it included some kind of trigger or forcing mechanism for the Super Congress process. In other words, if there was a mechanism for automatic deficit reduction if the recommendations of Super Congress didn’t pass, they would support it. That’s what we’re actually arguing about; the House bill is a sideshow.

However, having climbed so far up a wall, I don’t know that Boehner and his gang can climb down, even though a Reid bill with a trigger for automatic cuts would really be a clean sweep on the policy side for Republicans.