A five-page document titled “Bipartisan Plan to Reduce Our Nation’s Deficits” was distributed to 49 senators by representatives of the Gang of Six today. President Obama quickly endorsed the document as being “broadly consistent with the approach that I’ve urged.”
A quick read of the document provided by the Gang of Six (which is composed Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla) shows that virtually no real details have been agreed to.
The plan claims to achieve a $500 billion “aggressive deficit reduction down payment,” but outside of a repeal of Obamacare’s CLASS Act, no specifics are identified. Instead the plan calls for “discretionary spending caps” (meaning no scpecific cuts have been agreed to) and other “numerous budget process reforms.”
The rest of the plan just kicks all decisions down the road to Senate committees. For example, the Senate Finance Committee would be charged with reporting legislation that “would permanently reform or replace the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula ($298 billion) and full offset the cost with health savings” and “find an additional $202/$85 billion in health savings,” and “maintain the essential health care services that the poor and elderly rely upon.”
In other words, Finance would have to increase payments to doctors by $298 billion over the next ten years, find the money from other government health care programs to pay for it, then cut another $85 billion from government health spending, and accomplish all of these cuts without rationing care for those on government health programs. That isn’t a plan, its a fantasy.
The Armed Services Committee is then charged with finding $80 billion in cuts, Homeland Security $65 billion, Agriculture $11 billion, Energy $6 billion, and Commerce $11 billion. All this budgeting from Democratically controlled committees that haven’t produced a budget in over 800 days!!!