Key Dems: Gang of Six plan won't be ready for debt-limit deal by Aug. 2

Key Dems: Gang of Six plan won't be ready for debt-limit deal by Aug. 2

Key Senate Democrats on Tuesday said the Gang of Six’s $3.7 trillion deficit-reduction proposal could not be included in a package to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by Aug. 2.

Senate Democratic whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate Dem: We’re trying to block a recess appointment to replace Sessions Senate Dems launch talkathon ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote Top Dem: Trump’s voter fraud commission will accomplish what Putin wants MORE (Ill.), a member of the Gang of Six, said Tuesday the group’s plan is not ready to be attached to legislation to increase the debt limit.

“The Gang of Six plan has not been drafted nor has it been scored by the CBO — it’s not ready for prime time,” Durbin said, making reference to the Congressional Budget Office. “But as a concept, I think we have the starting concepts together, and that’s what we presented today.

ADVERTISEMENT
“What we’re trying to do is to build these concepts into a long-term debt-reduction” plan, Durbin said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidConservative Senate candidate calls on GOP to end filibuster Ex-Reid aide: McConnell's 'original sin' was casting ObamaCare as 'partisan, socialist takeover' GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West MORE (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that he is open to including elements of the Gang of Six deficit-reduction plan in a bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, but declined to say he supports it as drafted.



Reid said he asked Gang member Sen. Mark WarnerMark WarnerGoogle announces million initiative for displaced workers Overnight Tech: House GOP wants to hear from tech CEOs on net neutrality | SEC eyes cryptocurrency | Elon Musk, Zuckerberg trade jabs over AI | Trump says Apple opening three plants in US Overnight Finance: House votes to repeal arbitration rule | Yellen, Cohn on Trump's list for Fed chief | House passes Russia sanctions deal | GOP centrists push back on border wall funding MORE (D-Va.) to come back to him within 24 hours on elements that he thinks could be included in a fallback bill to raise the debt ceiling.



“If there is a way in the next few days to improve upon the legislation that we are talking about doing, I am happy to take elements of the Gang of Six and work with me to get that done,” Reid said. 


The group’s plan received bipartisan praise from senators when it was revealed on Tuesday. President Obama also offered compliments, saying its release was good news.

But Durbin said the proposal was not ready to move through Congress, which has only two weeks to raise the debt ceiling before Aug. 2, when the Treasury Department says it will no longer have the money to pay all the nation’s bills.

Durbin said it could take weeks or months for the Congressional Budget Office to estimate the deficit-reduction effect of the massive package. He said flatly there is no time to do it before national borrowing authority runs out Aug. 2.

Durbin also dismissed the idea of passing a short-term increase of the debt limit to give lawmakers more time to put together a grand bargain.


“No. No. No. The president said he’d veto that and I’m opposed to it too, I think it’s a bad idea,” Durbin said. “With our economy in this precarious condition, short-term extensions of the debt ceiling, I think, would hurt us. You can expect a downgrading of our credit status and a negative impact on our economy.”

Reid also cast doubt given the short time frame for senators, while noting that because the Gang plan raises revenue, it would have to start in the House under the Constitution. 



“I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the enthusiasm for the Gang of Six, but I am the one who runs the Senate and I understand what the rules of the Senate are,” he said. “Remember, we have only 13 days.”



Democratic aides said Tuesday that it would be very difficult to pair the Gang of Six framework with a debt-limit increase because so many details remain to be filled in.

Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGOP rep. says McConnell is 'head of the swamp' Senate Dem: We’re trying to block a recess appointment to replace Sessions Trump predicts 'problems' for those voting against ObamaCare repeal MORE (Ky.), who also stopped short of endorsing the Gang of Six plan on Tuesday, have discussed legislation to give Obama authority to raise the debt ceiling, sparing lawmakers from having to vote for, or against, it. The legislation could include $1.5 trillion in spending cuts and set up a special committee to craft a larger deficit-reduction package.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinLewandowski clashes with ABC host over whether Trump can fire Mueller Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate Judiciary reportedly drops Manafort subpoena | Kushner meets with House Intel | House passes Russia sanctions deal | What to watch at 'hacker summer camp' Manafort agrees to speak with investigators after subpoena MORE (D-Calif.) has said that the special committee set up by the McConnell-Reid plan could use the Gang of Six’s framework as a starting point.

Durbin declined to comment on this possibility. He said the Gang of Six would meet Tuesday afternoon to discuss next steps.