Reps. Cooper, Wolf call for a House vote on the Gang of Six debt plan

A House Republican and a member of the New Democrat Coalition are jointly calling on Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring the Senate’s Gang of Six deficit-reduction proposal to a House vote alongside an increase in the debt ceiling.

Reps. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) sent a letter Tuesday to Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) voicing their support for the just-released Gang of Six proposal, which calls for $3.7 trillion in budget savings over a decade.

“We applaud this effort and ask that you provide the opportunity to vote on this proposal as part of any request for an increase in the debt ceiling before the Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline,” Wolf and Cooper wrote.

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Cooper has been involved in New Democrat discussions over the debt limit in recent days. Members of the business-friendly coalition, which is made up of 43 Democrats, talked about the Gang of Six proposal at a meeting Tuesday, and its leadership, led by chairman Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), released a statement supporting a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction and the debt limit. Cooper is also a member of the more conservative Blue Dog coalition.

Wolf is one of only a few House Republicans to embrace the Senate framework in the hours after it was released. A Boehner spokesman said Tuesday that while the proposal “shares many similarities” with the outline the Speaker has discussed with President Obama, it “also appears to fall short in some important areas.” 

Several other House Republicans withheld comment, saying they had yet to see the details of the plan.

Obama praised the proposal in a statement, though he stopped short of a full endorsement.

“The Gang of Six plan is bitter medicine and, while not perfect, could restore our fiscal health,” Wolf and Cooper wrote. “There is never a convenient time to make tough decisions, but the longer we put off fixing the problem, the worse the medicine will be.”

“We believe this approach deserves the full and immediate attention of the House of Representatives,” they wrote.

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