WTF? Bowles-Simpson Being Debated By House Today? Really?
When we last left the Bowles-Simpson Commission, it was (not at all unexpectedly) going down in flames when its two chairs --Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson -- couldn't get the 14 votes required to move their recommendation along.
In fact, and contrary to what some would have us believe, because of the lack of required support in the commission, there was no formal vote on what the co-chairs proposed and the plan was just a recommendation. The 11 B-S members who expressed support for the plan did so informally.
Of particular note is that the two most important Republican congressional members of the commission -- House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (MI) and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI) -- said they would vote against the plan. Without the support of the two people who would have to guide the plan through their committees and on the House floor, it never had a chance.
So much for ancient history.
Today, Reps. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Steven LaTourette (R-OH) will offer the B-S plan as substitute for the Ryan budget Ryan that was approved last week by the House Budget Committee.
I know Jim Cooper. He is a smart, thoughtful, hard-working member of Congress who throughout his career has cared deeply about the budget. His involvement in this effort is anything but surprising.
But B-S has no chance whatsoever of being agreed to by the House. Republicans will oppose it because of its more than a $1 trillion in new revenues; Democrats will oppose it because of its big Social Security changes. Camp and Ryan will still against it and will likely argue forcefully that their colleagues should vote no.
In other words, this will this be a waste of time.
It could be something that B-S supporters end up seriously regretting if the Cooper-LaTourette plan is rejected by as big a bi-partisan margin as may happen. That will mean that B-S will be 0-2: first it wasn't approved by the B-S commission; now it will have been rejected by the House.
It will also mean that the comprehensive B-S-like effort that the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and others keep pushing has no chance of being considered seriously any time soon.