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Republican debt plan may lead to compromise

[ 2011-07-19 11:24]     字号 [] [] []  
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The latest Republican plan to avert a looming US default is a fierce statement of conservative principles that pushes the party's negotiating position farther to the right.

That's why it may be the first step on the road to compromise.

By giving Tea Party conservatives in the House of Representatives a chance to take their favored legislation as far as it will go, House Speaker John Boehner may buy himself some needed goodwill from a vocal segment of his party that has sometimes viewed his deal-making efforts with suspicion.

That could make it easier for Boehner to eventually pass legislation that could be acceptable to President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate, clearing the way for an increase in the debt ceiling before Aug 2 when the federal government faces a default on its financial obligations.

Even as Boehner touted his party's latest plan at a news conference on Friday, he left open the possibility that the House may take up a compromise being shaped in the Senate that so far has failed to catch on with junior lawmakers.

"The cut, cap and balance plan that the House will vote on next week is a solid plan for moving forward. Let's get through that vote, and then we'll make decisions about what will come after," he said at a news conference.

The cut, cap and balance bill conditions a debt-limit increase on passage of a constitutional amendment that would require the federal government to balance its books each year.

Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds vote. That's not likely in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and may even be a stretch in the House.

Even if it were to pass Congress, the amendment would not take effect until at least 38 of the 50 state legislatures ratify it.

Economists say a balanced-budget requirement would tie the federal government's hands during a recession, when tax revenues plummet and welfare costs rise, by forcing it to slash spending or raise taxes.

"That would make a recession worse," said Dan Seiver, a professor of finance at San Diego State. "It's exactly the opposite of what intelligent fiscal policy should do."

But it's smart politics. Polls show that the public, and especially Republican voters, favor a balanced-budget requirement by wide margins.

(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

Republican debt plan may lead to compromise

Republican debt plan may lead to compromise

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.