Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Cut, Cap, and Balance' vs. 'Gang of Six' Plan: Which for House GOP?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Cut, Cap, and Balance' vs. 'Gang of Six' Plan: Which for House GOP?

Article excerpt

'Cut, cap, and balance' legislation, which lays out a GOP plan to eliminate the US budget deficit, is set for a House vote late Tuesday. A symbolic move, the vote is nonetheless vital to Republicans. Here's why.

Members of the House of Representatives gathered Tuesday to vote on their preferred option to resolving the national debt crisis - dubbed "cut, cap, and balance" - even as President Obama threw his support behind a new bipartisan deal crafted by a revived "gang of six" senators that includes a mix of spending cuts and new tax revenues.

Though the House vote is widely seen as symbolic - having little chance of being picked up in the Democratic-controlled Senate and facing a presidential veto even if, miraculously, it did - it is nonetheless important to Republican lawmakers. By virtue of the vote, slated for Tuesday evening, the House will go on record as having offered its own plan for resolution of the looming debt crisis. It will also give political cover to GOP members who want to show they voted for a plan that would force a fiscal overhaul along conservative lines.

Their pending vote, however, was eclipsed by Mr. Obama's announcement that the Senate's reborn "gang of six" negotiators had sent their "balanced" approach to solving the debt crisis to the White House. Their plan is said to call for whittling the deficit by $3.6 trillion over a decade or more - and includes adjustments to entitlement programs as well as elimination of tax loopholes and other revenue increases. Obama, in an apparent acknowledgment of the importance to GOP lawmakers of the vote on the "cut, cap, and balance" legislation, said he would contact Speaker John Boehner after the vote to schedule a meeting among congressional leaders and the White House about the "gang of six" proposal.

The House "cut, cap, and balance" measure would do the following:

- Cut US spending for the next fiscal year by $111 billion.

* Cap annual federal spending at less than 20 percent of the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product.

- Balance the budget each year via a constitutional amendment, called the Balanced Budget Amendment. …

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