The Democrats who joined in this threat were ---- surprise --- Sens. Conrad, Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) plus turncoat Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). Warner and Durbin are on the current bandwagon and I think they can easily count on Feinstein and Lieberman. Difi is running again as California's Republican senator and Lieberman will do it out of spite. So they probably have five Dems at a minimum ready to vote for slashing entitlements.
[A] whole bunch of them joined with Republicans in a threat to not raise the debt ceiling without creating a deficit commission that would make onerous cuts to entitlement programs. Yeah, that happened:Sens. squeeze Speaker over commissionThe result of this threat was the Simpson-Bowles commission
By Jared Allen and Walter Alarkon - 11/10/09 09:14 PM ET
Senators from both parties on Tuesday put new pressure on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to turn the power to trim entitlement benefits over to an independent commission.
Seven members of the Senate Budget Committee threatened during a Tuesday hearing to withhold their support for critical legislation to raise the debt ceiling if the bill calling for the creation of a bipartisan fiscal reform commission were not attached. Six others had previously made such threats, bringing the total to 13 senators drawing a hard line on the committee legislation.
“You rarely do have the leverage to make a fundamental change,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who said he hasn’t ruled out offering the independent commission legislation as an amendment to the healthcare reform bill.(…)
“There are rare moments in this institution when you can implement fundamental change,” Bayh said during Tuesday’s hearing. “This is one of them.”(…)
“While failing to increase the debt limit is not an option, the need to raise the debt limit should be accompanied by a serious discussion about possible actions we can take to deal with our fiscal challenge,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement. “Putting in place a mechanism to deal with our long-term fiscal shortfalls, as well as legislation restoring statutory pay-go, should be a part of that discussion.”
GOP's gamble on the budget pays off, so far
A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds that House Republicans, who took a political risk in passing a controversial budget blueprint last week, have survived so far with some key advantages intact as Congress moves toward the debate on raising the debt ceiling, passing the 2012 budget and enacting a long-term deficit plan.
Americans are evenly divided between the deficit plan proposed by President Obama and the one drafted by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, and those surveyed put more trust in Republicans than Democrats to handle the federal budget and the economy.
Pessimistic about the economy and the nation’s course, they overwhelmingly blame too much spending for soaring federal deficits and want to rely more on spending cuts than tax hikes to get it under control.
The poll also shows the perils ahead for the GOP in moving from general principles to specific actions. Two-thirds of Americans worry the Republican plan for reducing the budget deficit would cut Medicare and Social Security too much.
Ryan and other Republican House members already have faced hostile questions at town-hall-style meetings in their home districts from seniors and others about the GOP proposal to turn the nation’s health care program for the elderly into what would essentially be a voucher system. The GOP budget blueprint would overhaul Medicare, turn Medicaid into block grants for the states and trim trillions of dollars in spending on discretionary programs. It would lower tax rates for top earners and corporations.
“The bad news for the Democrats is that even after the Ryan budget comes out and has been attacked for a little while, the Republicans have an advantage,” says Joseph White, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University who studies budget politics and policy.