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orange
07-23-2011, 11:42 PM
'Super Congress': Debt Ceiling Negotiators Aim To Create New Legislative Body

Ryan Grim

ryan@huffingtonpost.com

Posted: 7/23/11 10:48 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Debt ceiling negotiators think they've hit on a solution to address the debt ceiling impasse and the public's unwillingness to let go of benefits such as Medicare and Social Security that have been earned over a lifetime of work: Create a new Congress.

This "Super Congress," composed of members of both chambers and both parties, isn't mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, but would be granted extraordinary new powers. Under a plan put forth by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his counterpart Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), legislation to lift the debt ceiling would be accompanied by the creation of a 12-member panel made up of 12 lawmakers -- six from each chamber and six from each party.

Legislation approved by the Super Congress -- which some on Capitol Hill are calling the "super committee" -- would then be fast-tracked through both chambers, where it couldn't be amended by simple, regular lawmakers, who'd have the ability only to cast an up or down vote. With the weight of both leaderships behind it, a product originated by the Super Congress would have a strong chance of moving through the little Congress and quickly becoming law. A Super Congress would be less accountable than the system that exists today, and would find it easier to strip the public of popular benefits. Negotiators are currently considering cutting the mortgage deduction and tax credits for retirement savings, for instance, extremely popular policies that would be difficult to slice up using the traditional legislative process.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has made a Super Congress a central part of his last-minute proposal, multiple news reports and people familiar with his plan say. A picture of Boehner's proposal began to come into focus Saturday evening: The debt ceiling would be raised for a short-term period and coupled with an equal dollar figure of cuts, somewhere in the vicinity of a trillion dollars over ten years. A second increase in the debt ceiling would be tied to the creation of a Super Congress that would be required to find a minimum amount of spending cuts. Because the the elevated panel would need at least one Democratic vote, it would be presumably include at least some revenue, though, if it's anything like the deals on the table today, would likely be heavily slanted toward spending cuts. Or, as Obama said of the deal he was offering Republicans before Boehner walked out, "If it was unbalanced, it was unbalanced in the direction of not enough revenue."

Republicans, however, are looking to force a second debt ceiling fight as part of the package, despite the Democratic rejection of the plan. Under the Republican plan, lawmakers would need to weigh in on the debt ceiling during the heat of the presidential election, a proposal Democrats reject as risky to the nation's credit rating. "We expressed openness to two stages of cuts, but not to a short-term debt limit extension," a Democratic aide close to the negotiations said. "Republicans only want the debt ceiling extended as far as the cuts in each tranch. That means we’ll be right back where we are today a few months down the road. We are not a Banana Republic. You don’t run America like that."

The aide said that Democrats are open to a series of cuts as well as a Super Congress, but only if the debt ceiling is raised sufficiently so that it pushes past the election. "Our proposal tonight was, do two tranches of cuts, but raise the debt ceiling through 2012 right now, though the McConnell process would be one way," said the aide, leaving open the possibility that Boehner could craft a new process and distinguish it from McConnell's, which the Tea Party despises as a dereliction of duty. "Do that now with a package of cuts, and have the joint committee" -- the Super Congress -- "report out a package that would be the second tranch. Republicans rejected that, and continued to push a short-term despite the fact that Reid, Pelosi and Obama all could not have been clearer that they will not support a short-term increase. A short term risks some of the same consequences as outright failure to raise the ceiling -- downgraded credit rating, stocks plunge, interest rates spike, etc. It is unclear why Republicans have made this their sticking point."

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel argued that the inability to come to a larger deal so far left a short-term extension as an "inevitable" option. "For months, we have laid out our principles to pass a bill that fulfills the president's request to increase the debt limit beyond the next election. We have passed a debt limit increase with the reforms the American people demand, the 'Cut, Cap, and Balance' bill. The Democrats who run Washington have refused to offer a plan," he said in a statement. "Now, as a result, a two-step process is inevitable. Like the president and the entire bipartisan, bicameral congressional leadership, we continue to believe that defaulting on the full faith and credit of the United States is not an option."

Obama has shown himself to be a fan of the commission approach to cutting social programs and entitlements. Shortly after taking office, Obama held a major conference on deficit reduction and subsequently created, by executive order, The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The White House made two telling appointments to chair the commission: The first was former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wy.), a well known and ill informed critic of Social Security who earned notoriety by suggesting, among other things, that the American government had become "a milk cow with 310 million tits!" His Democratic appointment was even more indicative of whose interests took priority, former Sen. Erskine Bowles (D-N.C.). Bowles is a member of Morgan Stanley's board of directors; an adviser to Carousel Capital, a private equity firm; and is a director of Cousins Properties Incorporated, a firm with significant investments in commercial and mixed-use real estate.

Simpson and Bowles, unsurprisingly, produced a report recommending corporate and high-end tax cuts, along with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, veterans' benefits and a host of other social programs.

The commission needed 14 of 18 members to approve the plan in order for it to advance to Congress for a vote. The commission fell short, but did win a majority.

Proponents of slashing spending won't make the same mistake with a new Super Congress. Only a simple majority will be necessary.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/23/super-congress-debt-ceiling_n_907887.html

teedubya
07-24-2011, 12:13 AM
surprising... the govt wanting more power to circumvent the Constitution.

America. Fuck yeah.

Tylerthigpen!1!
07-24-2011, 12:32 AM
This is beginning to look like the first chapter of a damn political horror novel.

mnchiefsguy
07-24-2011, 03:05 AM
This is bad if true. I would rather see us default on the debt than create a "Super Congress"

BucEyedPea
07-24-2011, 06:34 AM
Oh GAWD! Mitch McConnell and Boehner are TRAITORS!

And a totalitarians. Plus the Democrats agree with them except on spending.

Republicans WAKE UP your leaders are getting rid of your Constitution and country.

I am sure Mitt, Newt and the rest of your winnable candidates would also approve!

banyon
07-24-2011, 06:52 AM
Is this an Onion article?

CoMoChief
07-24-2011, 08:28 AM
Wow.......either they really don't get it.....or their agenda has nothing to do with the American people and what our founding fathers fought for......I'm going with option 2

Mr. Flopnuts
07-24-2011, 08:53 AM
Wow.......either they really don't get it.....or their agenda has nothing to do with the American people and what our founding fathers fought for......I'm going with option 2

More and more people are waking up. I just hope the greed machine doesn't pull back and put everyone back to sleep.

go bowe
07-24-2011, 09:33 AM
More and more people are waking up. I just hope the greed machine doesn't pull back and put everyone back to sleep.

eh, sleep is overrated...

teedubya
07-24-2011, 10:08 AM
More and more people are waking up. I just hope the greed machine doesn't pull back and put everyone back to sleep.

finally.

vailpass
07-24-2011, 10:35 AM
Huffpo FTW!

BucEyedPea
07-24-2011, 02:09 PM
Wow.......either they really don't get it.....or their agenda has nothing to do with the American people and what our founding fathers fought for......I'm going with option 2

That and because the banksters aren't getting what they want from the dog n' pony debt ceiling show that's going on. The banksters must get their way.

alnorth
07-25-2011, 12:01 AM
some silly overreaction here.

If approved, then Congress would have agreed to allow a committee of 12 to present a bill that they would then have to be voted up or down.

If you want to force your own congressional committees to draft the language, vote no on bill #1. If you think its fine and productive to have 12 guys work on an idea, then vote yes. If you think their idea sucks, vote no on bill #2.

There is nothing unconstitutional about this. My only criticism is that it is a waste of time that will likely fail. The entire house and senate is more likely to craft something that will pass. Give 12 random guys the opportunity to craft a bill, and unless they are constantly plugged into the membership for feedback, if you dont allow amendments, then whatever they come up with will likely be rejected because it wasn't quite the same as what the full congress wanted. Then all you've done is wasted time.

KILLER_CLOWN
07-25-2011, 12:23 AM
some silly overreaction here.

If approved, then Congress would have agreed to allow a committee of 12 to present a bill that they would then have to be voted up or down.

If you want to force your own congressional committees to draft the language, vote no on bill #1. If you think its fine and productive to have 12 guys work on an idea, then vote yes. If you think their idea sucks, vote no on bill #2.

There is nothing unconstitutional about this. My only criticism is that it is a waste of time that will likely fail. The entire house and senate is more likely to craft something that will pass. Give 12 random guys the opportunity to craft a bill, and unless they are constantly plugged into the membership for feedback, if you dont allow amendments, then whatever they come up with will likely be rejected because it wasn't quite the same as what the full congress wanted. Then all you've done is wasted time.

This SCREAMS unconstitutional, not sure if serious.

alnorth
07-25-2011, 12:53 AM
This SCREAMS unconstitutional, not sure if serious.

Don't be silly. This isn't the slightest bit unconstitutional.

Committees are not mandated by the constitution, it basically spells out the duties of congress, margins of victory necessary for different types of bills (simple law vs veto override vs amendment), and thats it. The constitution is utterly silent on the rules of procedure and who writes bills before they are voted on.

Congress would be asked to vote on whether to let 12 guys present an unamended idea to them for consideration. They could say no to letting them do that, or they could say "show us what you got", decide their idea sucks, and vote THAT down.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, whatsoever, sacred about congressional rules and procedure, except what is spelled out in the constitution, which really isn't much. Hell, the filibuster isn't even constitutionally supported. It was invented as a polite way to give time for a senator to ride back to the capital on horseback, and can be done away with, AT ANY TIME, by a simple majority.

The reason why this idea sucks is because its likely doomed to failure and will waste our time. Arguing that it is unconstitutional is just silly.

Amnorix
07-25-2011, 06:26 AM
So Congress can't create a committee to provide a recommended bill that the entire Congress can vote up or down on? That's unconstitutional?

As noted by alnorth, the procedures utilized by the Congress in creating, modifying and passing bills are entirely of their own making, and have no direct support in the Constitution. While this may or may not be a good idea, it's certainly not unconstitutional.

Amnorix
07-25-2011, 06:27 AM
This is bad if true. I would rather see us default on the debt than create a "Super Congress"

Read the article. It isn't a SuperCongress. It's just a committee that will provide a recommended bill, which the entire Congress must vote up or down without amendment.

Note, up OR DOWN.

alnorth
07-25-2011, 10:20 AM
Oh yeah, military appropriation bills can't be longer than 2 years, and budget bills must originate in the house. (though in practice, that is irrelevant. The senate just waits for the house to pass their annual spending bill, then cuts-and-pastes their language onto the house bill and pass that as amended.) I think that is it for how bills must be written and passed in the constitution.

Donger
07-25-2011, 10:22 AM
surprising... the govt wanting more power to circumvent the Constitution.

America. **** yeah.

LMAO

tooge
07-25-2011, 10:25 AM
super congress. they fail and are put on double secret probation? Our govt. is a complete joke.

RINGLEADER
07-25-2011, 10:27 AM
some silly overreaction here.

If approved, then Congress would have agreed to allow a committee of 12 to present a bill that they would then have to be voted up or down.

If you want to force your own congressional committees to draft the language, vote no on bill #1. If you think its fine and productive to have 12 guys work on an idea, then vote yes. If you think their idea sucks, vote no on bill #2.

There is nothing unconstitutional about this. My only criticism is that it is a waste of time that will likely fail. The entire house and senate is more likely to craft something that will pass. Give 12 random guys the opportunity to craft a bill, and unless they are constantly plugged into the membership for feedback, if you dont allow amendments, then whatever they come up with will likely be rejected because it wasn't quite the same as what the full congress wanted. Then all you've done is wasted time.

This pretty much sums it up. Everyone with their debt commissions and "Super Congress" wants to tackle the issue but no one has the balls to actually do it. Ultimately, these things almost always fail with a few notable exceptions like the base closing proposals in the wake of the Cold War.

Jaric
07-25-2011, 10:29 AM
This is a joke right?

alnorth
07-25-2011, 10:56 AM
This issue is probably moot anyway. Boehner basically came up with this idea for his two-part bill. Part 1: small cuts and short extension into early next year. Part 2: vote this 12-man deal and the remaining extension into 2013 up or down.

It will not pass the senate, and Obama would veto it anyway because it does not get this issue off the table through 2013. Reid is pushing his own $2.7T cut bill that raises no revenue and doesn't cut entitlements.

RINGLEADER
07-25-2011, 11:14 AM
This issue is probably moot anyway. Boehner basically came up with this idea for his two-part bill. Part 1: small cuts and short extension into early next year. Part 2: vote this 12-man deal and the remaining extension into 2013 up or down.

It will not pass the senate, and Obama would veto it anyway because it does not get this issue off the table through 2013. Reid is pushing his own $2.7T cut bill that raises no revenue and doesn't cut entitlements.

Unfortunately, like the Gang of Six deal before it, there is no specificity yet announced and likely all of the cuts come at the end of the decade.

BucEyedPea
07-25-2011, 11:18 AM
Why can't they just de-fund Obamacare?

patteeu
07-25-2011, 11:28 AM
some silly overreaction here.

If approved, then Congress would have agreed to allow a committee of 12 to present a bill that they would then have to be voted up or down.

If you want to force your own congressional committees to draft the language, vote no on bill #1. If you think its fine and productive to have 12 guys work on an idea, then vote yes. If you think their idea sucks, vote no on bill #2.

There is nothing unconstitutional about this. My only criticism is that it is a waste of time that will likely fail. The entire house and senate is more likely to craft something that will pass. Give 12 random guys the opportunity to craft a bill, and unless they are constantly plugged into the membership for feedback, if you dont allow amendments, then whatever they come up with will likely be rejected because it wasn't quite the same as what the full congress wanted. Then all you've done is wasted time.

This is right.

Rule of thumb: If your immediate reaction to an article aligns with that of BEP, Killer Clown, AND teedubya, quickly rethink your position and figure out where you went wrong.

BucEyedPea
07-25-2011, 11:32 AM
My reaction was based on what was posted. I modified it after alnorth's explanation. I just didn't post it.

Always the call-out artist going after posters is patteeu when he had to wait for alnorth's post before he could contribute himself or claim to.

patteeu
07-25-2011, 11:35 AM
My reaction was based on what was posted. I modified it after alnorth's explanation. I just didn't post it.

Always the call-out artist going after posters is patteeu.

So you no longer consider Republican leadership to be traitors who are getting rid of the constitution but you didn't think that reversal was worth noting?