A House Democrat indicated Wednesday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) might not have party members' votes locked down for his deficit proposal.
"I'm not going to commit to something that nobody I know has seen and had a chance to analyze," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said. "I want to see it."
Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) deficit proposal was met with division within his party on Monday, resulting in speculation that Boehner's two-step plan does not have enough Republican support to pass the House, much less the Senate, where Reid said Boehner's plan would be "dead on arrival."
But Blumenauer said that few Democrats have had a chance to sign onto Reid's alternative measure. "I had dinner with one of my friends who is a senator last night, who was saying they're really interested in seeing the details," he said on CSPAN's "Washington Journal" program. "They haven't seen the details yet."
Blumenauer expressed frustration with the state of the deficit negotiations, calling it an "ongoing circus" and a game of "fiscal chicken" with global consequences.
"There isn't time to do it right and for people to know what's going on," he said of the deficit negotiations, which are taking place under the Aug. 2 deadline imposed by the Treasury Department as the last date to raise the debt ceiling.
He also offered cautious support of the validity of a last-ditch "14th Amendment solution," an interpretation of the amendment that would allow the president to raise the debt ceiling without waiting for Congressional authority.
"It would appear that the president has the authority to just pay the bill, to honor the obligation," Blumenauer said. "I think there's a strong argument to be made that he could just go ahead and do this. But I think that would be wrong. I think Congress should be grown-ups."
Blumenauer, who believes that the debt limit is an "artificial barrier" that should be abolished, said that Boehner exemplifies the problem with the rush to address the deficit before the deadline.
Boehner was forced to "yank back his proposal" because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the plan did not cut as much federal spending as Boehner had promised. Blumenauer called it an "embarrassment."
He added, "[Boehner] didn't know what was in [his plan]."
Boehner announced late on Tuesday that he would rework his bill in order to cut more spending, pushing the House vote until later in the week.
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