Gearing up for the Grand Bargain

Gearing Up For The Grand Bargain

by digby

60 Senators sent this letter to President Obama today:

Dear President Obama:

As the Administration continues to work with Congressional leadership regarding our current budget situation, we write to inform you that we believe comprehensive deficit reduction measures are imperative and to ask you to support a broad approach to solving the problem.

As you know, a bipartisan group of Senators has been working to craft a comprehensive deficit reduction package based upon the recommendations of the Fiscal Commission. While we may not agree with every aspect of the Commission’s recommendations, we believe that its work represents an important foundation to achieve meaningful progress on our debt. The Commission’s work also underscored the scope and breadth of our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges.

Beyond FY2011 funding decisions, we urge you to engage in a broader discussion about a comprehensive deficit reduction package. Specifically, we hope that the discussion will include discretionary spending cuts, entitlement changes and tax reform.

By approaching these negotiations comprehensively, with a strong signal of support from you, we believe that we can achieve consensus on these important fiscal issues. This would send a powerful message to Americans that Washington can work together to tackle this critical issue.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

In addition to Johanns and Bennet, the letter was signed by the following Senators:

Lamar Alexander (R–TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Scott Brown (R- MA), Richard Burr (R -NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Lindsay Graham (R-SC) John Hoeven (R-ND), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH),? James Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), John Thune (R-SD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

John Kerry (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mark Begich (D-AK), Thomas Carper (D-DE), Mark Udall (D- CO), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Al Franken (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) , Kent Conrad (D-ND) , Mark Warner (D-VA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

Looks like we've got us a Grand Bargain in the making.

Just keep in mind that "tax reform" and tax hikes aren't the same thing. In fact, if the unsuccessful deficit commission report (as predicted, used as the "new bipartisan baseline")is any guide, the things they will agree upon are the elimination of arcane loopholes which will swiftly be replaced by new ones and ending middle class breaks like the mortgage interest deduction. But don't let that get in the way of a glorious agreement that will really start hurting citizens long after most of these people are well in their retirements, comfortably counting their millions, or in their graves.

But golly, I sure hope it "sends a message" to the market Gods and so they'll cure everything that else ails us in the mean time as the Republicans and Obama's economic advisors are betting on. Otherwise, I suspect we're going to come up a bit short in the WTF department.

This is not looking good in my opinion. They are determined to push this and there is almost no energy directed toward cutting defense. Medicare is probably off the table because of the recent health care battle and the GOP's ruthless, hypocritical attack on Democrats. That leaves discretionary spending and Social Security, the issue which the country has been prepped to believe is going broke unless something is done.

The Democrats will pay the price for this, but I'd guess most of the people who signed that letter are fine with that. I'm not sure about the others. And if anyone thinks this is designed to get the president to cover for their "tough choices" they're cracked. This is about doing Obama's dream, the Grand Bargain that only wealthy millionaires and Villagers could love. There is no political upside for anyone but him --- and that's only because he's probably going to be running against some unelectable Tea Partying wingnut. The rest of these Dems may not be so lucky.