House Democrats Leave Door Open to 'Gang of Six' Debt Framework
Top House Democrats are making positive but cautious comments about a deficit-reduction proposal by a bipartisan group of senators called the Gang of Six.
At a brief appearance with reporters Wednesday morning, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said "No" when asked whether she would advise Democratic lawmakers to vote against the proposal. But shortly afterward, her spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, expressed uncertainty that her remark represented a definitive position, cautioning that the Gang of Six plan lacked specifics and was still subject to negotiation.
Separately, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee said the Gang of Six proposal is promising but there's likely too little time for Congress to act before the Aug. 2 default deadline.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said "there's still a lot of details that have not come out."
Obviously, some elements of the Gang of Six plan are deal breakers, for example the fact that it contains Social Security cuts. And the plan itself is vague in many crucial respects. But as it relates to the debt limit, I think the key thing is the point made by Chris Van Hollen: getting a comprehensive, balanced fiscal plan in place is going to take longer than the twelve days we have left before the August 2 debt deadline. The clock isn't just running out, it's basically run out.
There's no way they can do much more than agree on a set of principles before August 2. House Republicans might howl and scream about the fact the debt limit needs to be raised before we have a deficit reduction plan in place, but the reality is that it is their own inflexibility that is to blame. For better or for worse, Democrats have been open to a compromise. House Republicans haven't.