The Republicans are growing a little worried about the mission they mandated to the "Super Committee" because the Obama Administration is now seeking to use that committee to pass the president's jobs proposal.
"By asking the Joint Select Committee to increase the $1.5 trillion target to cover the full cost of his plan, the president is essentially tasking a committee designed to reduce the deficit to pay for yet another round of stimulus," the committee's co-chair, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said in a statement last week. "This proposal would make the already-arduous challenge of finding bipartisan agreement on deficit reduction nearly impossible."
On the contrary, what the president is asking the committee to do is to agree to even more deficit reduction, and just when I thought this administration couldn't impress me any more with their deviousness, they pull another rabbit out of their hat.
Many Republicans are resistant to the idea of using the joint committee as a vehicle to pass or pay for Obama's jobs bill, a significant chunk of which they oppose. But the legislation is written in such a way that -- if it passes -- it will count any extra savings that the committee finds toward the cost of its bill. And at a Tuesday press conference House Speaker John Boehner encouraged the committee to go well beyond its statutory requirement of finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.
In case you don't understand -- the Congressional Budget Office has scored the president's jobs proposal as deficit-reducing beginning in 2013. This is accomplished by accounting for the closure of tax-loopholes and the revenue that will be generated by a wave of new jobs. This mean's the "Super Committee" can include the president's jobs proposal in their mandated mission to find over a trillion in savings over the next 10 years.
This is why the Republicans are now downplaying their expectations of the Super Committee and suggesting the committee should go small. Not big.
They're playing catch-up to President Obama, and opposing a jobs bill and more deficit reduction at the same time may be beyond the vast, obstructionist powers of the Republicans. Their only remaining option may be to stall and do nothing.
Ironically, the debt-limit fight has already set us on a path to a more fair economy even if congress does nothing between now and the 2012 election. Under the CBO-scored, deem-and-pass 2012 budget, which John Boehner tricked his caucus into signing off on, the Bush Tax Cuts have a baked-in expiration date.
I think it's time to resurrect an old meme, as this is how I'm feeling right now.