Speaker John Boehner’s two-step plan to raise the debt ceiling by upwards of $2.5 trillion would require the White House to accept much deeper spending cuts than he was negotiating only last week with President Barack Obama.
Unveiled Monday, the proposal appears to take back Boehner’s prior offers to allow an $800 billion increase in tax revenues but his new spending demands are significant in themselves and could amount to $600 billion more over 10 years when compared with the White House talks.
This breakdown follows the basic framework discussed with the White House but leans forward in each case toward demanding more savings.
The Boehner plan gives less credit than the White House for the savings that would come from the proposed cuts in appropriations. And this makes it harder for lawmakers to meet the next goal of coming up with another $1.8 trillion in savings for the second debt increase installment.
That assignment will fall to a proposed joint committee to report back to Congress later this year. The White House talks identified significant savings from entitlement programs with the administration estimating the total at almost $800 billion while Republicans hoped for close to $950 billion.
But even taking the higher GOP number and adding 20 percent for future interest savings, the net deficit reduction would be less than $1.2 trillion—or $600 billion less than the goal set by the Boehner plan. The committee would then have to make new entitlement cuts or revisit the question of discretionary spending, since Republicans have refused to consider any tax increases.