The bipartisan debt-limit deal, famously called a “Satan sandwich” by a prominent Democrat this summer, is looking more heavenly to the left.
Republicans crowed after striking the agreement with President Obama, while congressional Democrats cried foul. Despite the White House’s endorsement of the bill, 95 House Democrats voted against it.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the Budget Committee, subsequently said Republicans called Obama’s bluff. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he got 98 percent of what he wanted in the deal.
Three months later, members of both parties are looking at the deal much differently.
A GOP lawmaker who requested anonymity told The Hill that “it’s the 2 percent that’s killing [Boehner] … I’ve never understood why we thought 12 people could come up with a solution any better than we could.”
With the supercommittee deadlocked, the sequestration cuts of $1.2 trillion are now likely to be triggered. Those reductions would hit national security programs, but not call for structural reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and/or Social Security.
Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services committees were wary of putting defense cuts in the trigger, but Democrats essentially said the GOP would have to choose between tax increases or cuts to the military. Republicans opted for the latter, despite major concerns expressed by House Armed Service Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.).
Now, in sharp contrast to this summer, Democrats say they are in the driver’s seat. They note that Republicans are already vowing to torpedo the sequestration cuts to the Defense Department, something Democrats say they will not go along with.
Many Democrats would prefer the sequestration cuts over a deal that would make major reforms to entitlement programs.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who voted against the debt deal on Aug. 1, is openly rooting for the super-panel to fall short.
“I hope that they cannot reach an agreement,” Nadler told Capital New York.
Nadler favors major cuts to the military — which could happen in 2013 if Congress cannot pass a deficit-reduction bill.
Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), who dubbed the debt deal a “Satan sandwich,” has tempered his critique.
He, along with dozens of congressional Democrats and Republicans, has called for the supercommittee to “go big” and find deficit savings in the $3 trillion to $4 trillion range. Part of that savings, Cleaver has made clear, should come from the expiration of the Bush tax rates.
There's more, but you get the idea.