Taking a Ride in the Austerity Train

James Crotty: Obama’s budget is a “less savage” attack on social programs, but still assumes we are “living above our means”

Thanks to the David Dayen at FDL News Desk for the links to articles that there is still a big push from the White House for cutting the deficit in the proposed budget despite the denials. There is a bipartisan group headed by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer on the Democratic side to sell more deficit reducing austerity

The push is intended to disrupt the consensus among most political leaders that Congress will punt budget consolidation efforts until after November – when the election returns are in, and the January 1, 2013 expiry of the Bush tax cuts and deep across-the-board spending cuts make real action inevitable.

In a speech hosted Monday morning by Third Way, Hoyer revealed that he and other lawmakers are looking for the right moment to introduce a bill that would achieve the sorts of deficit reduction goals that have eluded Congress and the White House thus far. [..]

“There is ongoing work…to put concrete proposals to paper in legislative form, so that as I said there will be an opportunity to offer those proposals,” Hoyer said. “Obviously you want to create a large consensus for that before you offer it so that its defeat is, if defeated, temporary only and not undermining of what the objective is, and that is getting a big, bold, balanced plan adopted.”

The Hill identified some of the other members of this secretive committee but others don’t even want to be identified:

A small, bipartisan group of lawmakers in both the House and Senate are secretly drafting deficit grand bargain legislation that cuts entitlements and raises new revenue. [..]

The core House group of roughly 10 negotiators is derived from a larger Gang of 100 lawmakers led by Reps. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Health Shuler (D-N.C.), who urged the debt supercommittee to strike a grand bargain last year. [..]

The talks are so sensitive that some members involved do not yet want to be identified.

Dayen, as do others, doesn’t believe anything will happen with the budget and these massive cuts until after the election during the lame duck session but that doesn’t mean that the grand plan would pass. He had a major concern that “those defenders of the safety net left in Congress have a plan of their own.”


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