Reid’s Plan Likely to See Action

Not only would Sen. Harry Reid’s plan let Democrats avoid another debt-limit debate until after the 2012 election, but it will also allow them to avoid coming up with a new budget for the next two years. The Republican Policy Committee writes:

After over 800 days of no budget, the Reid plan “deems” a budget for this year AND next year – Democrats signal they want to avoid doing a budget next year.  Since the Reid bill puts in place discretionary spending caps for the Senate’s purposes for this year and next year, the Democrats are trying to avoid the need to do a budget resolution this year or next.

In other words, the plan hitches the budgets to the level of growth projected by the Congressional Budget Office, so Democrats can dodge the budget blowup we saw last spring. But it will also let them avoid making necessary long-term changes to get the deficit under control, a scenario that’s unacceptable to most Republicans.

“The congressional budget act will be violated for the third straight year. This is an abrogation of the responsibilities of the Senate, and of the budget committee of the United States,” said ranking member Sen. Sessions of the Budget Committee on the floor this morning. “We were not elected to the Senate and chosen to serve on the Budget Committee to see most of the budget levels automatically raised.”

And that’s not the only landmine buried in the plan. It looks as if it also includes some hidden taxes:

Because it follows the CBO baseline, the Reid bill also assumes: the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, higher estate taxes, and the Alternative Minimum Tax hitting middle-class taxpayers.

This isn’t a surprise, but it would be another violation of Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on the middle class. And it also raises questions about what else is obscured in the proposal. Most of the focus today has been on the drama in the House, but Reid is moving quickly, and his plan will likely see action soon.