Feinstein favors McConnell solution

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Monday that a plan for raising the debt limit by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) makes the “best sense” for resolving the deadlocked and contentious issue.

"I see the Reid-McConnell bill as the only practical way forward," Feinstein said Monday on MSNBC. "I think it makes very good sense and I hope that people see the light of day."

Feinstein said the Reid-McConnell plan, which is still taking form, "does what needs to be done, it sets the limits," as well as provides for a twelve-person commission of senators and House members to "come forward in a short period of time" in a way that protects a debt-ceiling increase from being amended or filibustered. 

Last week, McConnell unveiled what he called a backup plan for raising the debt ceiling.

The plan gives President Obama most of the authority on raising the debt ceiling in three separate increments. The only way for Congress to block raising the debt ceiling would be through resolutions of disapproval, which Obama could then veto. 

That would effectively require a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress to stop an increase. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has begun negotiating with McConnell on the bill.

Feinstein pushed back on the notion that his bill doesn't actually do much to address the nation's massive deficits and just kicks the problem down the road.

"I think if you take a $4 trillion cut right now it's a huge delayed discussion that doesn't get a lot done by the 2nd of August," Feinstein said. "And it has the potential of having things in it which could explode later on. So I very much favor what the Reid-McConnell bill is attempting to do and I think it's the thing that makes the best sense.

"It raises the debt limit, it allows us to pay our bills, it moves us away from calamity and it has a rational process set forward within the next year or so for three increments of cuts,” she said.

Feinstein noted that the McConnell plan calls for incremental cuts of $700 billion, $900 billion and another $700 billion.
Feinstein called it “a rational process that gives the bodies time to really look at what's being done and analyze it." 

Since McConnell unveiled his contingency plan, an increasing number of Senate conservatives have voiced opposition to it. 

Negotiators are quickly running up against the Aug. 2 deadline, when the Treasury Department says the U.S. economy will default unless it extends the debt ceiling. 

Nevertheless, a debt-ceiling compromise has remained elusive, despite repeated meetings between Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and both Republican and Democratic congressional leaders.

On Sunday, Obama met without publicity with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), continuing the debt-limit talks.

Watch Feinstein below.

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This story was updated at 2:48 p.m.

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