Gang of Six
In his post yesterday, Pete thought that the gang of six plan was far more significant than I do.
In fact, I don't think the plan changes the overall situation at all unless House Republicans are suddenly willing to agree to the $1 trillion increase in taxes that they so far have been completely unwilling to do. The fact that the White House embraced the proposal so quickly may also make it hard...or even impossible...for the House GOP to get on board quickly.
In other words, even if the gang of six plan does pass the Senate, its prospects in the House are extremely limited. As a result, the odds of a debt ceiling increase being in place by August 2 haven't changed very much in the past 24 hours no matter what the headlines say.
When we last left the Gang of Six...
I never expected much from the Gang of Six talks in the Senate anyway. But Roll Call just reported that Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has announced that he's leaving the gang because he doesn't see the point in talking any further.
Coburn seems to have left the door open just a bit by indicating that he could return at some point if he thinks it makes sense. That sounds like what you say when you want to break up with someone but don't want to hurt their feelings too much.
Coburn was considered the most important Republican member of the gang because of his willingness to consider eliminating tax expenditures as a member of the Bowles-Simpson Commission and his leaving almost certainly is going to be hailed as a victory in the days ahead by the no-tax-changes-to-reduce-the-deficit-no-matter-what crowd.
Is this the end of the gang? Is Coburn gone for good or will he return at the last minute to save