Skip to comments.Coburn: Unlikely I'll back McConnell debt plan
Posted on 07/17/2011 9:57:55 AM PDT by markomalley
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said Sunday that fellow GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell's proposal to raise the debt limit was "a great political plan" but that it didn't solve the nation's debt crisis - and so he was not likely to vote for it.
In an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," Coburn claimed he no longer cared about the politics of the debate, and said that "I am only going to support something that actually solves the problem."
"I haven't firmly decided, but I am unlikely to support it at this time," Coburn said, of McConnell's plan, which would allow Republicans to avoid voting to raise the debt limit by essentially ceding authority to the president on the matter. (The proposal would authorize President Obama to raise the debt ceiling three times before the end of 2012 with the contingency that he identify trillions of dollars in possible cuts to federal spending to offset the increase in borrowing authority; Congress could vote on those cuts, but the president could also veto them.)
"I think the McConnell plan is more of Washington not taking responsibility," Coburn told CBS' Bob Schieffer. "It is a great political plan: it takes the pressure off all of the politicians, but allows us to pass a debt limit without making the hard choices that this country has to make.
"I am only going to support something that actually solves the problem," Coburn said. "And not the political problem. I don't care about the politics anymore. If it doesn't solve the policy problem for this country, I am not going to support it."
The Oklahoma Republican - who initially served on the bipartisan team of lawmakers negotiating a debt limit deal, but who ultimately walked away from them - said he plans to submit his own proposal for reducing the deficit on Monday.
Coburn emphasized to Schieffer that "I wouldn't expect [the plan] to pass" through both Houses of Congress, but that he had identified $9 trillion worth of savings over the next ten years - and that if lawmakers were to just "pick half of them" to achieve its $4 trillion goal, the problem would be solved.
"We have spent thousands of hours going through every program in the federal government," Coburn said. "We have $9 trillion worth of savings that are achievable over the next ten years. Pick half of them. Half of them solves our problem."
Coburn said the plan would cut $1 trillion from the Pentagon over the next ten years - which he said would be difficult but "not super hard." He also said it identified more than $1 trillion in discretionary spending cuts and $500 billion in reductions to other agencies, and proposed major changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Coburn noted, too, that the proposal includes an increase in revenues by adjusting the tax code and closing loopholes - a position that most, but not all, Republican lawmakers oppose.
"We can increase revenues by adjusting the tax code and lowering it," Coburn said. "Dick Durbin is very familiar with this and [it would] save over a trillion dollars."
Regardless, Coburn said, major deficit reductions were necessary to any deal to raise the debt limit.
"We have a terrible track record, Republicans and Democrats alike, of promising to do something to get our spending under control, but yet never doing it," Coburn said. "And that is a bipartisan problem. We spend money we don't have on things we don't need, and we continue to do that, because that is in the benefit of the politicians ... not the benefit of the country.
He also said proposals to focus on a deal that achieves $2 trillion in spending cuts as opposed to a $4 trillion deal the president had sought would not sufficiently deal with the debt problem - and would not satisfy America's creditors that the nation was on surer footing.
"We have to have something at least at $4 to $4.5 trillion [in reductions] if, in fact, we are going to send a signal that we understand our problems and that we are going to continue to reward those who invest in us by paying the bills," he continued. "But we have to do it in a way that will allow us to continue to borrow the money until we get out of this problem."
>> Coburn claimed he no longer cared about the politics of the debate, and said that “I am only going to support something that actually solves the problem.”
Well said, Sen. Coburn! Good for you.
My premise is this: with the current mood of the electorate, solving the problem rather than gaming it politically is not only the right thing to do, but also the best politics.
So: politicians, cut spending, cut the deficit, get re-elected. Play beltway politics, and get primaried.
This may be like Obama's "plan"; it sound like huge cuts, but it's possible that it raises taxes too.
The one fact most of the GOP plans ignore is the balance of government. McConnell’s plan at least recognizes that we’ve got Democrats holding the Senate and the White House, a situation that can’t change until 2012.
Why back anything that does not legitimately cut trillions. I am tired of these fools dicking around.
The old farts sold out to K street years ago and now are scared someone has the pictures of them with the little boys and girls.
Do these “journalists” understand anything about negotiations??
What fool would reveal their “fallback position”, while still negotiating their primary position?
Just cut everything by 10% now! (Even my SS) That should solve the need to raise the debt.
there is plenty of money flowing into the the Governments Ponzi scheme, start cutting everything, that Idiot African did!
Mitch McConnell, dodging responsibility as usual.
If you think eliminating a loophole is raising taxes, then yeah he's open to raising taxes.
Coburn’s plan does cut trillions, dude. Nine trillion. A phone-book’s worth of specific cuts.
Coburn is the man. He has Rand Paul's sense of honor, but w/ the knowledge that our system was designed so that both parties have a say.
The idea that Repubs can get what they want w/out concessions to Dems is not courageous. It's a child's “I want a pony fantasy”. The filibuster rule prevents one party from dominating.
Interesting that none of this ever, ever happens, dude.
What’s interesting is you didn’t address my point, about the filibuster, and how even if you take the senate/presidency in 2012, the Dems will still stop the CCB plan.
What’s also going to be interesting, is that when you guys stick to this “no new taxes on anybody ever for any reason” thing, and we’re about to bust out (ten or so years from now), and the Dem demagogues insist on raising the top rate by about 25%, and get 2/3 or 3/4 of a fearful American public to go along with them: you’re going to be the most surprised people in the world.
I only hope you’re also in the top 2% so you really feel it too.
You have completely missed the point. There ain’t anything happening but the same old shyster act. You are over analyzing. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see it. Just a little good old common sense.