House Speaker John Boehner is now working with several leading conservatives—including Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin—to draft the options menu.
It is based on what’s known as the Ryan budget, according to Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., a far-right spending plan passed by the House that’s been written off by Democrats as nothing more than a political document that decimates support for the poor and hurts the middle class. And it will outline what Obama will have to agree to for whatever length extension he wants.
For a long-term deal, one that gives Treasury borrowing authority for three and a half years, Obama would have to agree to premium support. The plan to privatize Medicare, perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Ryan budget, is the holy grail for conservatives who say major deficit-reduction can only be achieved by making this type of cut to mandatory spending. “If the president wants to go big, there’s a big idea,” said Scalise.
For a medium-sized increase in the debt limit, Republicans want Obama to agree to cut spending in the SNAP food-stamp program, block-grant Medicaid, or tinker with chained CPI.
For a smaller increase, there is talk of means-testing Social Security, for example, or ending certain agricultural subsidies.
To be clear, in exchange for a promise not to destroy the economy for nearly four whole years, Republicans want Medicare to be ended. For a couple years, they merely want Social Security cut, food stamps cut, and Medicaid effectively ended. This seems important.
Although, of course by pointing out that Republicans actually favor the Ryan budget I’ve presumably earned eight trillion Pinocchios on fire. Kindly old Paul Ryan would never do want such a thing!
…and, yes, let’s not forget the compassionate conservative war on food stamps either.